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l^aibarti College librarg 



(CU** of 1S87) 


Student Life 


Edinburgh University. 





R(Uaa -vj a^,t)6. 5-6 . ^ 


APR. I 1918*^ 




Soxb Rector 



S^^ig ^alxtrttt h respjectfttllg btbtcateb 



A/arc^t 1884. 













A medical's story 70 


I PASS IN "classics" . . . • . . 82 

university abuses . . . . . . 89 

A grassmarket adventure .... 102 






• • 


• • 



(i Ci^T T^ " 








• • 


A students' RIOT 


• • 



• • 





• . • 



• • 












"Confide ye aye in Providence, for Providence is kind, 
An' liear ye a' life's clianges wi' a calm and tranquil mind." 


UR Norman is going to be a 
minister, and occupy the 
village pulpit some day or 

Such was the verdict of 
my parents, and any visitor 
who stayed for half an hour 
inside our humble dwelling, 
was sure to hear the above 
sentence from my mother's lips. 

My father was a handloom weaver. Our 
house consisted of a " but and a ben." The 
"but," that is the room, was where we dined 
and slept, and the " ben" was the place where 
my father worked at his loom from early 
morn till after nine at night, on many occa- 

8 Student Life. 

sions. I was the only son, and as a natural 
consequence deemed a prodigy ; and I suppose, 
such being the case, my future career was 
decided upon long before they knew whether 
I had the talents for the sacred profession or 

Up till the time I left school I had never 
been far away from our village, which was 
. situated on an island, and all day long I had 
the changing sea ever before mine eyes, and 
at night its deep, sullen boom in mine ears as 
I lay awake in bed. Although my father 
was a weaver, he was one of the most intelli- 
gent and intellectual men I ever met in with.. 
He had a typical Scotch face, with high 
cheek bones, kindly blue eyes, a firm mouth 
and rounded chin, while he was of medium 
stature. He was well read up in history; 
was a keen debater in politics ; and as for 
poetry, he could recite piece after piece till 
my whole mind was enraptured with the 
various themes. He was an elder in the 
Established Church, and was accordingly 
looked up to with great respect. 

As for my mother, she was the kindest of 
women, and thought nothing too good for 

Leaving Home. 9 

There was very little trade done in the 
tillage of Millport ; and my father, with some 
half-a-dozen others, received their orders and 
^ent all their goods to be disposed of in 
Glasgow. Millport, however, was greatly fre- 
-quented in the summer months by visitors, 
and with one thing and another, the people 
managed to make a living. 

There was a good school in the village, the 
schoolmaster of which, fortunately, loved 
learning for its own sake, and I thus received 
a good education, which embraced Greek and 

William Black and I were great friends. 
He was the minister's son, and a fine, manly 
fellow, some two years younger than I. As 
Will was also destined for the ministry, 
we had many interests in common, and many 
precious moments were wasted by us in talk- 
ing over what each of us would do after we 
had entered the University. 

The years went rapidly past. When I 
reached my sixteenth year I was despatched 
to Edinburgh University, where I had an 
oincle residing, with whom I was to lodge. 
I need not mention here what took place 
•during my first session there, beyond stating 

lo Student Life, 

that I took a satisfactorily good position in 
in the classes which I attended. 

During the summer vacations I returned 
to Millport, and helped my father at his trade, 
and kept up my studies at odd moments. 

It was now the end of September; the 
visitors, like migratory birds, had all departed 
from Millport. The trees were bare and 
leafless, the clouds dark and dreary, the sea 
cold and cheerless, save when a high wind 
arose and hurled the waves against the rocks, 
when they broke into a thousand particles of 

I had seen the minister during the day,, 
and he had told me to come up to the manse 
at night, as Will was anxious to consult me 
about something, as he intended going to the 
University of Edinburgh also, the ensuing 

When I entered the manse, I found Will 
all impatience. His mother was sitting by a 
blazing fire knitting a stocking. 

" I thought you would have been afraid of 
venturing up here in such a stormy night as 
this," said Mrs Black, after the first greetings. 
were over. 

** The idea!" exclaimed Will. "Norman is. 

Leaving Home, 1 1 

not made of butter that he will melt in a 
slight shower of rain. Have you brought 
the University Calendar?" 

" Here it is," lanswered, as I handed it to 

We were soon deeply engaged in the 
mystery of class work, fees, and other things. 
Will had many things to ask, both about the 
University and the Professors, and a host of 
kindred subjects. It was quite wonderful 
how the time slipped past ; and ever and anon 
as I glanced at Mrs Black's face I saw a 
smile hovering round her lips, as if she was 
amused at Will's eager questions. 

" I have been asking Will if he was not 
afraid of going to such a city as Edinburgh, 
and he says he is not the least afraid," she 

'* There is nothing to be afraid of," 
said Will ; " my father has taught me as 
well as any Professor is fit to do, and I feel 
quite certain I wont put my home training to 

" It wasn't your classical education I 
referred to," said Mrs Black, very quietly. 

" What was it then, mother ? " 

" The temptations of a city life," was the 

12 Student Life, 

answer, "and the hundreds of young men 
you will come into daily contact with ; and I 
am just afraid you may be led astray." 

" Don't get fanciful, mother," said Will ; 
" rest assured I am not like a plank drifting 
down a river, with no will of my own. I '11 
not spoil any more than Norman Fraser." 

" Perhaps not," I answered. " I suppose 
you will be going to try for a Bursary ? " 

" Certainly, if I can hit on an easy dodge 
of answering the questions." 

'* That 's not so easily done," I replied ; 
'•hard, conscientious work is the best way of 
overcoming difficulties. Plenty of the 
students, however, get hold of a number of 
old calendars, read up and work out the 
questions printed therein, which were asked 
at former examinations, and by these means 
get a pretty good idea of the nature of the 
expected questions." 

"That's a capital idea, Norman," said 
Will, "and I must take care to put it into 
practice. Father says the Edinburgh 
University is the best one in Scotland." 

"It is the most popular one, anyhow," I 

" Father was in Edinburgh last winter 

Leaving Home. 13 

while you were there," said Will ; ** he stood 
in the street opposite the College, watching 
the students passing down the steps, and he 
said a lot o' them put him in mind o' sprats 
among good sized herring, they were so wee 
and young ; and he thought they would have 
been better to have remained another year or 
so at school." 

" It 's not the oldest people who have the 
most sense," observed Mrs Black, smiling at 
her son's remarks. 

" I suppose you knew Henry Porteous of 
Dunoon, Mrs Black ? " 

"Oh! yes, very well indeed," was her 
reply. " I have not, however, heard of him 
for a number of years, beyond the fact that 
he was rusticated, or expelled, from the 
University of Edinburgh. Was it true such 
was the case ? " 

" Perfectly true," I answered. " One of 
my fellow students, named Andrew Geggin, 
told me all about the affair. It seems that 
Henry Porteous had been two sessions at the 
University, and as he had put off a consider- 
able portion of valuable time in attending 
theatres, concerts, and other places of 
amusement, he confessed to a fellow student, 


14 Student Life, 

several weeks before the regular work of the 
session came to an end, that he felt morally 
certain of being 'plucked' at the April 
examination. Henry Porteous was intending 
to be a doctor." 

"To step into his father's shoes at Dunoon, 
I suppose ? " said Mrs Black. 

" Very likely," was my reply ; " but, as 
Geggin said, he had got such a bad disease 
himself, he thought he would never get a 
practice. And so it turned out. . Two nights 
before the examination was to take place, 
Henry Porteous was in a fever of excitement. 
He did not know what to do. His mind 
was so distracted with anxiety, that although 
he had been studying pretty hard for the last 
week or so before this, his brain seemed a 
vacuum — filled with nothing but vague and 
imperfect ideas. While in this state, how- 
ever, he happened to mention his difficulty to 
a man who was a printer in the place where 
the Senatus got their printing done, and this 
man mentioned that the Professor of 
Physiology had been over at the office with 
the manuscript of the questions for the 
examination that same forenoon. The con- 
science of Henry Porteous had apparently, 

Leaving Home, 15 


at this time, given up its office of inward 
monitor, or had been hushed to sleep, for he 
was unable to resist the temptation which 
rose up before him, and the man and him- 
self separated on good terms, for the printer 
got very drunk that same night." 

"A satisfactory proof," said Mrs Black, 
with a smile. " But go on with your tale." 

"The librarians of the University were 
somewhat astonished at the number of books 
which Henry Porteous consulted the follow- 
ing day, and the large amount of notes he 
took, for up to this time he had rarely 
troubled them for any literature, but they 
attributed it to the approaching examination. 
There would be nearly one hundred and fifty 
students present at the examination in the 
Library Hall. When the results of the 
"^ exams' were posted up at the entrance 
^ates, who should stand at the head of the 
list but Mr Henry Porteous, with some 
ninety-eight per cent, of questions answered ! 
Every one that knew Henry Porteous was 
more than astonished. The thing was quite 
unexpected, and nobody was more surprised 
at the result than the Professor himself, so 
•Geggin told me." 

1 6 Student Life, 

" Did Porteous then manage to obtain a 
copy of the questions beforehand ? " asked 
Will, who had become exceedingly interested 
in the tale. 

"Wait a little and you will soon know," I 
answered. " Henry Porteous went off home 
with flying colours, and for a time was quite 
a prodigy. Meanwhile, the printer had beea 
turned off" for a week, for having been 
insolent to the foreman ; and one of his 
comrades, who had been drinking with him,, 
went and told the master of the printing 
office, that Harry Slades had given one of the 
medical students a copy of the questions twa 
days before the examination in Physiology 
took place. The master, after enquiry, went 
directly to the Professor and told him all he 
knew. The Professor simply said, ' I see it 
now. This accounts for it all. I thought 
there was something under all his extra 

*' The man was got hold of and duly ex- 
amined, but denied ever having done such a 
thing, and Porteous might have got off" had 
not the Professor casually mentioned the 
matter at the bookshop of Maclachlan and 
Stewart, with the result that one of the shop- 

Leaving Home, 17 

men produced a copy of the paper in question, 

which had been left inside a book returned 

by Henry Porteous two hours before the 

Physiological Examination was to have taken 

place ! This affair was duly proven against 

him, and the Senatus gave the secretary 

orders to write to Dunoon asking him to 

return at once to Edinburgh, on a matter of 

importance. Porteous, however, declined to 

do so. He did not mend matters by this, for 

he was found guilty and expelled the college 

with disgrace." 

** And served him quite right," said Will. 
" He was a mean sneak to take advantage 
of better students than himself. But what is 
he doing now do you know ? '' 

" Ah ! I hear his father has shipped him 
off to America," was my reply ; " I haven't 
the least notion, however, of what he is going 
to do when he does get there." 

" It is a great pity, indeed, that young men 
will be so foolish and rash as to risk the 
morning of their life by acts of deliberate 
folly," said Mrs Black. '' I hope, Will, what- 
ever you do, you will always be honest and 


" I will always try to be so," said Will, 


1 8 Sttide7tt Life, 

** and you need not be so timid about me. I 
never met in with any bad companions yet, 
and trust the University to which I am 
going will be comparatively free from 

"Heigh ho!" I said. **it's an awful thing 
to be in the company of a philosopher like 
yourself. But I '11 need to be going, as you 
know I start to-morrow for Edinburgh; some 
days earlier than yourself — and father and I 
will have lots of things to talk over." 

'^Then, old fellow," said Will, " I'll go 
down the hill with you a short distance." 

Shortly afterwards, I bade Mrs Black good 
by, as the minister was in his study. When 
we got to the end of the short avenue, I 
happened to look back, and saw part of the 
blind drawn up, and a woman's figure 
revealed against the background of light. I 
knew it was Mrs Black watching us in the 
moonlight. By this time the wind had fallen 
and the rain ceased. . The stars were gleam- 
ing above with a soft liquid light, like that of 
a maiden's eyes over her first great sorrow. 
Away down at our feet the sea was outspread 
before us. The village nestled near by, 
and nothing disturbed the silence but the 

Leaving Home. 19 

sough of the wind in the hedge near at hand, 
and the stray cry of a lonely gull. 

Will Black walked down to the village with 
me, and as we parted, I could not help praying 
that Will might escape unscathed from the 
temptations and snares of a city life. 

Student Life. 

Chapter II. 


" Come forth, and brin? wilh you a lieart 
That watches anrl receives." 

— Wordnoorth. 

LTHOUGH the University 

of Edinburgh is the youngest 

of all the Universities of 

Scotland, still it is the one 

which yearly draws the 

greatest number of students 

within its precincts. It is a 

modern structure, a mixture 

of the Greek and Italian 

style, and was erected between the years 

1789 and 1834, taking the place of an older 

structure founded by James VI. in 1582. 

The buildings are erected on a plot of 
ground formerly known as the Kirk o' Field, 
which was the scene of the murder of 
Darnley, Queen Mary's husband, and is 
referred to in Burton's History of Scotland, 
where the house he (Darnley) was taken to 
"was a small building, the residence of the 

William Black becomes a Student, 2 


provoist of the collegiate church of St. Mary- 

Owing to the narrowness of the street, the 
view of the front of the University is com- 
paratively lost, and dozens of strangers must 
pass and re-pass and not know they are near 
such a place of learning. Our illustration * 
gives a very good idea of the outside appear- 
ance of the building. 

I remember a stranger, who had evidently 
come from the country, asking some of the 
students who were lounging about the outside 
steps, if they could tell him where the Police 
Office was, and they kindly directed him to 
the Secretary's Office in the vestibule 1 

The quadrangle inside the building is large 
and airy ; while a stone balustrade, with small 
supporting columns, with here and there stone 
steps leading from the various class-rooms 
and entrances to the Library, lends a massive 
grandeur to the place. 

A statue of Sir David Brewster,, at one 
time Principal of the University, faces the 
entrance at the far end of the quadrangle. 

Will Black duly arrived in Edinburgh, and 
as this was his first visit to it he was greatly 

* Frontispiece. 

24 Student Life, 

attracted by the aspect of the city, with its 
many shops and crowded streets, so different 
from his village home of Millport. 

As no students resided within the walls of 
the University, Will and I sought out 
lodgings, and he at length was satisfied. 

The Arts course, which may be said to be 
the key of all the professions, extends to 
three years.^*^ The annual cost of classes 
amounts, on an average, to ten guineas, which 
although perhaps a moderate charge, presses 
heavily enough on a large number of students 
who frequent the University. 

I went with Will to the Hall, where he 
was to pass his preliminary examination 
before being enrolled as a student. Will was 
somewhat excited, and it was evidently with 
mingled feelings of wonder and awe that he 
walked up the stairs of the Entrance Hall, 
through the door of which dozens of raw 
youths were crowding and crushing. Here 
I left him, with best wishes for his success. 
When Will entered the Hall, which is nearly 

* The ordinary Curriculum in the Faculty of Arts, with a view to 
a degree, extends over Four Winter Sessions. Students who 
pass an Entrance Examination in Latin and Greek . . . may 
complete the Curriculum in Arts, with a view to Graduation, within 
Thrkk Winter Sessions.— F/V/<f University Calendar, 

William Black becomes a Student. 25 

two hundred feet long, with a magnificent 
roof, carved in wood, he found himself soon 
seated on a three legged stool, similar to 
those of Jenny Geddes fame, with slightly 
over a hundred other youths, quite as eager 
and interested as himself. From end to end 
of the hall, ran four long tables, made 
of three planks joined together, and set on 
tressles to act as supports. Through the 
middle space of these tables, students who 
had taken their degree of Master of Arts 
walked slowly up and down, glancing at the 
students occasionally to see that none were 
copying from each other, or using unlawful 
means to ensure success. 

Round the sides of the hall were arranged 
a large number of busts, on pedestals, of 
former professors ; while, in various niches 
were cases containing valuable manuscripts, 
coins, and other things, as Will afterwards 
found out; while along the gallery, and in 
the hall itself, thousands of books were seen. 
Will, however, had practical work to perform. 
He glanced at the questions, and then set 
himself seriously to work, and before the 
allotted time was expired he was able to 
perceive that he had made a satisfactory 

26 * Student Life, 

paper, having answered fully three-fourths 
of the questions put. 

Will folded his paper, marched down the 
hall to the table at which the Professor sat, 
and put the result of his labours into the 
pigeon-hole stand, labelled alphabetically, and 
in a few minutes found himself breathing the 
free air once again. 

" How have you got on ?" asked a voice 
close to Will, as he stood on the outside steps 
of the University. Will looked at the 
speaker, and did not recognise him as having 
been among the number of those youths who 
had been, like himself, in the hall. It 
was, nevertheless, a pleasing face that he saw 
before him. What drew Will Black's 
sympathy, however, towards him, was the 
fact that he wanted his left arm from the 
elbow downwards. Neither Will nor Geggin 
(for it was he) observed me, as I was stand- 
ing behind two or three other students, 
reading a bill. I heard every word that 

" I think I have managed to get through 
pretty satisfactorily," said Will, after a slight 

** I 'm glad to hear that," was the reply. 

William Black beco7nes a Stude^it, 2 7 

*' Where do you come from ? I 'm from 
Duns ; my name 's Geggin — Andrew Geggin. 
What s yours ? " 

I saw that Will could not refrain from smil- 
ing at the almost boyish eagerness with 
which those questions were asked. Will had 
just satisfied his interlocutor on these points, 
when I stepped forward and mentioned that 
this was the friend I had told him about on a 
former occasion. We turned inside and took 
a walk round the quadrangle. 

" You will find a difference in a big town 
like this, than from the small village you 
come frae," said Geggin. *' I mind fine the 
first session I spent here. I took a perfect 
hungering after hame, and couldna help 
repeating what I saw in a book called 
Rosslyn Lyrics, 

' I 'm far frae hame ! I 'm far frae hame ! 

An' ilk ane I lo'e dear ; 
I feel at times a wean again, 

An' oft let fa' a tear. 

Ay ! ay ! it costs us mony pangs, 

The aps an' domis o' life. 
It seems our hale existence here 

Is just ae round o' strife.* 

Isna thae lines bonnie ? Man, I had often 
to run away to Arthur Seat, lie down on the 

28 Student Life. 

grassy hillside, an' take a good hearty cry to 
relieve my bursting heart. Ay, ay ! there 's 
no place like home." 

'' One never knows the true value of a 
thing till it is denied them," said Will, speak- 
ing like a philosopher of advanced years. " I 
think the older we grow, the more we 
appreciate and love the charms of our 
younger years." 

Geggin gave me an expressive glance 
from his dark eyes, at this oracular sentence 
of Will's. He then began pointing out to 
Will where the various class-rooms were 
located ; then talked of the dry humour of 
the various warders ; the peculiarities of the 
several professors, and a host of kindred 
subjects, that kept our minds fully occupied, 
and I was happy to observe that Will and 
Geggin parted on quite affectionate terms. 

Will Black, in the course of a few days, 
soon had the satisfaction of knowing that he 
had passed his examination successfully, and 
after matriculating (for which he paid the 
sum of one pound), was enrolled a student of 
the University of Edinburgh. 

Will and I had barely settled down to 
work, when a new phase of interest and 

William Black becomes a Student. 29 

excitement developed itself among the 
students. This was the triennial election of 
a Lord Rector, a subject keenly debated on 
all sides by the young politicians. The 
election was always decided more on the 
political principles of the candidates, than for 
their literary attainments. The Marquis of 
Hartington and Dr Lyon Playfair were 
pitted against each other. 

There were plenty eager canvassers on 
both sides. 

" Who do you think you 11 vote for ? " 
inquired Geggin of Will Black, as they met 
after the dismission of the Greek class. 

" I don't think it would be right for me to 
vote for any of the candidates, seeing that I 
know nothing of them." 

" You Ve not a Cameronian ? " 

- Who— I ? " laughed Will. " Not at all, 
although I believe such people do refrain 
from taking part in political elections; 
although, I think it is a mistake." 

"You had better vote for Hartington, 
then," said Geggin. "He will come in the 
winner with a good majority. But you will 
need to take care of yourself on Saturday 

^o Student Life, 


" Why so ? " asked Will. " Do you mean 
to say there is fighting and rioting ? " 

** Something like it/* was the reply, " and if 
you get a handful or two of peas thrown 
sharply in your face, you won't relish it one 
bit. I Ve known some fellows have sore 
inflamed eyes for a month afterwards." 

"That shouldn't be allowed at all," said 
Will ; " the Senatus ought to put such things 

** Not at all,'' was the reply. ** Buying 
peas helps the grocers, and a little rough fun 
is relished by nearly all the students. My 
friend Cowan is of the same opinion. I 
have given you fair warning, so you know 
what to do. You know I have no chance at 
all, as I want an arm." 

'* How did you lose it?" enquired Will, 
thinking this would be a good opportunity of 
knowing how his friend had sustained, such a 

" I was just a wee chap o' some three 
years auld," was the reply. "My father has a 
mill at Duns, and I happened one day to go 
too near ane o' the wheels, when I was drawn 
into the machinery, an' my arm was so 
mangled that it had to be amputated. But 

William Black becomes a Student, 3 1 

it's better to gang to the kingdom of heaven 
wi* one arm than to hell wi* two." 

*' Poor fellow ! " muttered Will to himself, 
as Geggin took his departure. '* It's a pity 
of him, but he's a splendid fellow all the 

** He is all that, and more," I answered, 
*' and is one of those kind of fellows who are 
not afraid of their opinions." 

The morning of the election duly came 
round; a dull raw day, with a promise of rain. 
I called at Will Black's lodgings, and 
together we entered the University to record 
our votes. Numbers of students were 
standing on the stone balustrades of 
the quadrangle, as well as on the steps ; 
and almost every new comer was 
saluted with handfuls of peas, thrown with 
such dexterity and skill as frequently to 
strike some part of the face and ears, which 
stung with a prickling sensation for a long 
time afterwards. Ere we could mount the 
stairs and get into the Reading Room, where 
we were to vote, we were also assailed, but 
having invested in a pound of peas each, in 
case of necessity, we faced our antagonists, 
and replied to their attacks. The opposite 

32 Sttident Life, 

party, disliking to be paid in their own coin, 
made a simultaneous rush to collar vis, but 
failed to do so. Once inside the Reading 
Room, I saw and heard the peas rattling 
louder than hail against the window panes. 
At the end of the quadrangle where Sir 
David Brewster's statue is erected, a 
number of students of opposing parties were 
endeavouring to put their colours on the 
head of the statue. Several students, more 
bold or adventurous than the rest, managed 
to climb to the top of the pedestal, and were 
immediately assailed with paper bags con- 
taining flour, and others containing yellow 
ochre, which made a sad mess of their clothes, 
while all the time a torrent of peas was 
continually hailing on the advanced sentinel, 
who was endeavouring to outwit the enemy. 
Suddenly Will, who was standing beside me, 
gave me a dig in the side with his elbow, 
as he exclaimed : " Look there, Norman ! 
Geggin is being shabbily treated. Come 
on ! " and ere I could rightly take in the 
scene, Will rushed from the room and I 
followed at his heels. 

There was evidently several youths more 
bent on mischief than on innocent amusement. 

William Black becomes a Student. 33 

A big fellow, whom I knew by sight, named 
Macdonald, and another called Purdie, stand- 
ing on the top of the steps, behind a dozen 
others, suddenly joined hands together, and 
literally sent them before them headlong down 
the steps, amid a yell of execration ! 

The janitor came on the scene just as this 
took place. He was a tall man, and had 
once been in the Horse Guards, where he 
acted as a sergeant. Suddenly collaring 
Macdonald and Purdie by the collar* of their 
coats, he bumped their heads severely 
together, which made the water start from 
" their eyes at this sore and unexpected reprisal. 

" You Ve a pair of mean, cowardly fellows," 
he said ; " you deserve to be reported to the 
Senatus for your shabby and dastardly con- 
duct. We don't want any horse play here, 
so you had better mind what you are about. 
I shouldn't wonder, too, but that you have 
seriously hurt Geggin there." 

"Oh! he is all right," I said, helping 
my friend to his feet. " How do you feel, 
Geggin ? " 

" Pretty well, thank you. Phraser," was the 
reply. " I might have got a serious tumble. 
Fortunately I fell on the top of Cowan there," 

34 Student Life, 

pointing to a slim built student, who was 
trying to get his felt hat into something like 
its proper shape, but miserably failing. 

Macdonald and Purdie slunk off immedi- 
ately, and things grew quieter after this 

This incident, however, brought the throw- 
ing of peas to a conclusion ; and as Macdonald 
and Purdie, who were both medical students, 
sneaked off, Chapman said, "These fellows 
will come to no good, or I am much mistaken." 

" Why do you think so ? " I asked. " An 
affair like what has happened does not 
necessarily stamp them as blackguards.*' 

" Certainly not ; but all the same, many a 
one has got a severe reprimand from the 
Senatus for doing less. It was only the 
other day, when going up College Street, at 
night, I heard a dreadful squalling in an 
entry, and on going in, I found that 
Macdonald and Purdie had stuck two pins 
about half an inch down, into the back of \ 
cat, as they wished to see what effect they 
would have on the nerves through the spinal 
column. They have plenty of cheek, and 
when I quarrelled them about doing such a 
cruel thing, they retorted by saying that if a 

William Black becomes a Sttident. 35 

Professor was allowed to vivisect dogs, cats, 
frogs, and other things, they did not see why 
a student should not be allowed to follow out 
class practice whenever they got the chance 
of a subject." 

" And do they actually practice the horrible 
art of vivisection in such an enlightened 
university as this ? " asked Will Black. 

Chapman merely smiled and walked away, 
while Geggin said, " Fraser could tell you a 
thing or two about that. Although he goes 
in for theology he keeps his weather eye 
open. He is a splendid hand at debating." 

Just as I was remonstrating with Geggin 
for flattering me too highly, the Principal — 
Sir Alexander Grant — appeared with a paper 
in his hand, on the balcony, above the Senate 
Hall, and amid a breathless hush announced 
that the Marquis of Hartington had been 
elected Lord Rector. 

A stentorian cheer was raised at this 
announcement, mingled with a few hisses. 
The result, however, seemed to give satisfac- 
tion to the majority of students. 

A rush was again made to the statue to 
endeavour to twine the colours of the 
victorious party on it, but neither Will Black 

36 Student Life, 

nor I waited to see the result, as we had 
seen quite enough of rough work for one day 
at least. 

In the evening, the students had a torch- 
light procession. As nearly as Will Black 
and I could compute, there would be some 
six hundred present. It was a nice sight to 
see the torches flashing, smoking, and flicker- 
ing; to hear the students singing various 
popular songs, and to watch the vast crowds 
of civilians who crowded on both sides of the 
streets through which they wended their way. 

Will Black and I accompanied them only 
a short distance as spectators, and then, as it 
was rather late, we made off" to our separate 
lodgings, when I, for one, slept soundly till 

The Professor of Greek. 

Chapter III. 


was, in a measure, idolised 

by those attending his classes, 

especially the first year 

students. His heart was as 

green and youthful as if he 

had been on the threshold of 

manhood, instead of having 

nearly reached the allotted 

term of man's years. He was a man of 

perfervid enthusiasm ; knew a variety of 

languages ; could speak eloquently on almost 

any subject ; had peculiar and democratic 

political opinions of his own which were a 

mysterj' for most people to understand. 

Professor Blackie usually went about the 
streets with a plaid thrown over his shoulders 
and round his body, while he carried a stout 
walking stick in his hand, which he usually 

38 Student Life, 

called a " kail runt " — that is a cabbage root. 
His features were thin and sharp, his eyes 
small and restless, and his hair was long, thin 
and white. 

It could not be said, however, that the 
genial Professor gave his students the best 
Greek teaching at his command. He 
delighted, at least while I was there, to make 
jokes in the class-room, and a certain eccen- 
tricity of manner frequently heightened the 
humour of these. 

" I don't see how the Greek I am getting 
can be of much use to me, or forward my 
chances of passing when I try for my M.A.," 
said Will Black, after having been a week or 
two in the junior Greek class. 

"How so?" I asked. 

" Because I do not seem to gain any more 
additional knowledge of Greek verbs since 
the day I entered the class," was the reply. 
" And I never expected students to act in the 
manner they do. Some of them act very 

" What's wrong in the class } " I asked, 
feeling pretty well assured of what Will 
would say. 

"It's simply this," was the reply: "You 

The Professor of Greek. 39 

know I sit in bench number three, along with 
Stillie, Grant, and several others ; and while 
Professor Blackie was giving out the exercise 
in Greek, they had the ' crib ' opened at the 
place — ^it was the twelfth book of Homers 
Odyssey, — and busily engaged putting the 
translation down on the paper before them ! 
It is a disgrace when students act in such a 

"The Scotsman defines a student, as a 
species of the genus homo — one who does not 
study — and says the name is misapplied in 
the case of the Edinburgh University. 
Did you not speak to these innocent 
rascals } " 

'^ Of course I did," said Will. '^ When I 
came out of the class I spoke to them pretty 
sharply, but was told to mind my own 
business, or go back to my ' mammy.' Some 
people are very witty." 

*' Remember what Cicero says," I replied; 
''Jacere telum voluntatis est; ferire, qtcem^ 
no liter is fortunae!' 

"You had better translate that," replied 
Will, giving me a gentle snub. 

"To throw a dart is a matter of will ; but 
that it strikes a person whpm you have no 

40 Student Life. 

intention to strike, is a matter of chance," I 

** That may all be true enough ; but I 
believe there are some students who try to 
give pain wilfully. But what's up with 
Cowan that he is laughing so much } Geggin 
is surely drawing the long bow." 

By this time the two had came up to where 
we were standing. 

** You had better give us the benefit of your 
joke," I said to Geggin. *' Will here is dying 
to know." 

'* Oh ! it was just one of Blackie s jokes 
that I was relating," was the reply. "Just 
before the session broke up last year, I got 
word from home that one of my brothers was 
lying ill ; so as it wanted only two days before 
we would be free, I went to the Professor and 
asked away. 

" ' What do you want away for ? ' says he, 
so I told him. He never said anything, but 
commenced to hum : — 

*Oh! where, tell me where 

Does my Highland laddie dwell?' 

He repeated this twice over, so I thought I 
might as well help him — so I put in the bass. 

The Professor of Greek. 41 

* You're a fine fellow/ he says, 'an' you 
deserve to get away.' Before he wrote out 
my certificate, I asked him if he could 
recommend me a good book on Greek 
prosody. * Anthon's,' he said. As I had not 
got my pencil on me, I asked him to write it 
down ; so he took his quill and tried to write 
the name, but he only managed to make some 
lines. On looking at the paper, I saw he had 
made 2i% so I asked him if that was the key 
I was to take for the song he was humming. 
He didn't see the joke at first, but he laughed 
heartily when I explained, and said, * You 're 
a smart fellow, and deserve a good certificate,' 
and there and then he wrote it out, an' I 
think it was better than I deserved." 

"It's wonderful his fund of youthful 
vitality," I said, " considering that he is above 

" The heart of the poet never grows old," 
said Cowan. 

"So it seems," I replied, "but I think a 
little more reverence for divine things would 
be more becoming in a man of his position 
and age. Just look what occurred the other 
day at the opening of the class, when he was 
repeating the Lord's Prayer." 

42 Student Life, 

** What happened ? " asked Cowan. " I 
was late in coming that morning." 

"Why," said Geggin, "he was repeating 
the Lord's Prayer in Greek, as usual, but 
when he came to, * give us this day our daily 
bread,' he stopped for a full minute, as if 
trying to recollect the phrase, but failing, he 
began and stopped at the same place. Some 
of the students began to laugh, but the 
Professor, after saying it over again, and 
failing once more, said, * We '11 never mind 
the prayer to-day ; we will try it to-morrow,' 
and then went on with the usual class work." 

"It s rather strange how he could forget 
the phrase,'' I said, "and more especially 
when he has been in Greece more than once." 

"He's not a bad fellow Blackie," said 
Cowan ; " and if you want a lecture full of 
humour and genius, go and hear him when 
he gives one in the Literary Institute." 

" I like Professor Calderwood*s lectures," I 
said. "He has a thorough grasp of his 
subject, although his manner of delivery 
might be a little sprightlier at times." 

" Sellar and he are both good men," said 
Geggin. " But do you see yon fellow walk- 
ing wi' that wee chap ? " I looked in the 

The Professor of Greek. 43 

direction indicated, and saw a tall, spare 
youth, about Will Black's own age, and very 
thinly clad. 

" Who is he ? " I asked, as I never 
recollected having seen him before. 

** One of the most conscientious and up- 
right young men I have ever come across all 
my life.'' 

"He doesn't seem to be very well off," 
said Will. 

** That 's too easily perceived at a glance,'* 
said Geggin ; *' but I must get him up to my 
lodgings some night, and get him to tell you 
his history over a cup of tea. He stands 
well up in his classes, and yet, if you go to 
any evangelistic meeting in any part of the 
town, you are sure to" find him among the 
workers there." 

" That 's what I call following out in daily 
life the principle of the Bible," said Cowan. 
*' If there were more young men of faith, who 
did not hide their Christianity when they put 
on their kid gloves, the moral atmosphere of 
our city would be purer." 

" Christianity has nothing to do with a 
University training," I said; "at least, it is 
not one of those things which are thought 

44 Student Life. 

essential to the welfare of the students in 

" More 's the pity and disgrace then," said 
Geggin, " and it strikes me that there is no 
better recruiting station for the devil, than 
our own University." 

Having to go to the Library for a book, I 
left the group. 

Students wishing the use of books from 
the Library were required to deposit one 
pound in money, for which they got a receipt, 
and when they desired to cease from availing 
themselves of the privilege, they received 
their money back again, which was only 
required against accidents and security for 
the safe return of the books. 

Filling in one of the slips at the counter, I 
handed it to one of the librarians in attendance. 
He was a strange being, and rarely handed 
out a book without attemping some wretched 
pun or other. He had dark hair and eyes, 
was of slim build, and might at first sight 
have been taken for a foreigner, as he wore 
his hair in Chinese fashion, having it tied in 
a queue at the back of his head. He was, 
however, either an Englishman or a Welsh- 
man. I never could rightly make out which. 

The Professor of Greek. 45 

" Have you got * Agassiz on Fish ' ? " I 

" I guess we have," he replied. 

"Are there plates illustrating the various 
kinds ? " 

"My dear sir," he replied, rubbing his 
hands with invisible soap and water, as 
Charles* Dickens has said somewhere ; " you 
would never dream of taking fish without 
plates, would you ? " and having had his joke 
away he went to obtain the book. 

He was some time away, and I filled up 
the time till he returned by talking to 
Manderson, another of the librarians. 

" You should ask Grainger for a sight of 
his diary when he gives you your book," said 
Manderson. " He keeps an account of his 
travels. It's worth seeing, and I 'm sure you 
would enjoy a peep into it." 

I knew Manderson was fond of a joke, so 
when I received my book I politely made 
the request to Mr Grainger. He took it 
from his desk and handed it to me at once, 
as if delighted at the bare idea of having 
been asked for it. 

I looked over the contents. It was 
written in a very simple, accurate, and lucid 

46 Student Life, 

style, as the reader may judge for himself by 
the following specimen which I noted down 
in shorthand. It is in reference to a visit 
paid to Melrose Abbey : 

" I stood before the entrance gate to the Abbey. The 
gate was made of wood and painted. An old woman 
opened it; she reminded me of my mother, she had 
such a nice voice. She thought I was an Italiah at first, 
and said I was very good looking. 

'* The Abbey is an old ruin, but must have been very 
beautiful when new. There are no panes in the windows, 
which pained me very much. The old woman showed 
me the place where King Robert Bruce's heart had been 
buried. There is a ticket there which shews you the 
place. There are a few images, but most of them are 
broken. I paid a shilling to my guide, and thought it 
too much, especially when there was nothing to eat." 

It was truly, as Manderson said, "worth 
seeing;" and I said so to Mr Grainger as I 
handed it back and quitted the Library, with 
many varied thoughts filling my mind. 

Alistair and the Professor. 


" Good actions crown theirselves with lasting baysi 
Who well deserves, needs not anothet's praise." 

was Saturday, and as I was 
well forward with my studies, 
I took an evening stroll 
through the busy streets. 
In the High Street, organs, 
whistles, and pianofortes 
were doing their best to 
devate the tastes of the 
masses ; men were stagger- 
ing along under the influence of liquor ; 
women, with babies in arms, and children 
holding on by their dresses followed after, 
while men were singing and trying to sell 
old ballads and obscene songs. Suddenly I 
was tapped on the shoulder by a student 
named Brown, " Where are you bound for ? " 
he asked. 

48 Student Life, 

" No place in particular," I said. 

" Then come along with me. There is a 
meeting in the Vennel Church to-night." 

I consented. 

" You Ve often wondered how I became a 
speaker," said Brown, as we walked along. 
" Well, I once heard a woman make a speech ; 
and as I thought it wouldn't do to be beat by 
a woman, there and then I tried it, which is 
some six months since. I don't say I am 
very good at it, Fraser, you know ; but if I 
can comfort a poor soul in any way, it will 
repay my pleading." 

We reached the Vennel Church, which 
entered off Lauriston ; and after going down 
the narrow lane, and past what remains of the 
ancient city wall, we entered the building, 
where about two hundred people would be 
assembled, most of whom were working lads, 
with a number of men and women scattered 
here and there, but all evidently interested in 
the speaker, who was a well known city 
missionary. The meeting was left open for 
prayer, shortly after we had sat down. Some 
of the petitions were evidently better intended 
than expressed. For instance, one young 
man with a tear in his coat, after pleading for 

Alistair and the Professor, 49 

the reclamation of backsliders, went on to 
say, " O ! Lord, shut the gates of hell ; save 
the folk ; open the windows of heaven and 
shove them in/' Another following after- 
wards, a working man with gray hair, said, 
** O Lord, how my \i^'diXX, yearns to see the 
people going down to hell ! " Such proceed- 
ings as these made the meeting more interest- 
ing than I thought it would be. 

'* I see Stanhope making for the door, 
which shows the meeting is almost over," said 
Brown to me. " I think we had better go 
also, and see where he is bound for." 

Nothing loath to depart I assented. We 
were joined in a minute by the student to 
whom Geggin had drawn my attention in the 
quadrangle of the University, as being one of 
the most upright young men he had ever met 
in with. 

He shook hands with Brown, who then in- 
troduced me. He had a keen, intellectual 
countenance, and as he wiped the sweat from 
his brow, I perceived that his forehead was 
very finely formed, and I made up my mind 
that he would yet make his mark in the world, 
and add additional lustre to our well-known 

50 Student Life, 

** Are you going to any place in particular 
to-night ? " said Brown. 

•' What time is it ? " asked Stanhope, who 
I perceived had no watch. 

" A quarter past nine," was the reply. 

" O ! I think 1 11 have time to go up and 
see Alistair Macgregor," said Stanhope. 

"What!" exclaimed Brown, "are you 
acquainted with that strange and eccentric 
Highlandman ?" 

Stanhope gave a slight laugh as he replied, 
" Eccentric and strange he may be, but when 
one comes directly from Tighnabruaich into 
the most cultured city in Scotland, and meets 
with nothing but jibes and jeers, and such 
questions as, * Where have you left your 
trousers ? * and, ' When did your tailor die ? ' 
and all this simply because he wore the dress 
to which he had been used all his days, from 
childhood upwards, is it to be wondered that 
he took a dislike to Lowlanders, and drew in 
his horns, like a snail, when touched ? I 
think Highlandmen are at once the most 
proud, and at the same time, the most 
sensitive of all nations." 

"And does he actually wear kilts at the 
University?" I asked. 

Alistair and the Professor. 51 

" And why not ? *' said Stanhope. " There 
is no special dress mentioned in the rules by 
the Senatus, and you know we even don't 
wear a cloak, like the students in Glasgow, 
and why should a set of snobs prevent any 
one from wearing the dress he chooses ? " 

"Custom is a second habit," I answered, 
" and if a European was to go among a set of 
Africans who were unacquainted with the 
ways of white men, I have no doubt they 
would set him down as effeminate and vain." 

" That has nothing to do with the point in 
hand," said Stanhope, as we walked along. 
"He has given up wearing his kilt, although 
much against his will, as he said it belonged 
to his uncle, who was a piper to the Duke of 
Argyle, at* Inveraray ; and he considered it 
would be lowering his colours if he was 
tempted to do so by the taunts of the 
Sassenachs. But his kilt was spoiled for 

" How did it happen ? " I asked. 

" Brown, there, knows all about it," was 
the reply. "It happened in Sellar s class. 
Alistair sat on the back seat, at the end, and 
one of the students procured a large lump of 
rosin, and getting into the room a few minutes 

52 Student Life. 

before the rest, rubbed it well on the wood. 
AHstair sat down, never dreaming of the trick 
that was being played upon him. He never 
stirred from his seat during the whole hour, 
and when the time came for rising, he 
couldn't do so, and Aitchison, a harum- 
skarum sort of fellow, kindly whipped out a 
pair of scissors, and before Alistair could 
remonstrate, cut out the tartan from the 
adhesive portion. I leave you to judge of 
the laughter and jeers that poor Alistair had 
to endure as he marched away with the rent 
in his kilt. But he is a fine fellow, and here 
is his lodgings. You had better come up for 
a few minutes with me. He hasn't many 

" Would he not object } " I said. 

" Not at all," was the reply ; " he knows 
that I wouldn't bring any fellow with me to 
pain or hurt him in any way." We ascended 
the long flight of stairs which led to Alistair's 
abode. I often used to wonder why 
students preferred dwelling so high up, till 
I found out it was because lodgings were 

We found Alistair sitting on a hard 
wooden chair, and wearing (as Stanhope told 

Alisiair and the Professor. 53 

me afterwards) the very garment which had 
been so much abused. 

There was very little furniture in the 
room, which was of small dimensions. A 
bed stood in a recess'; a chest of drawers 
faced the fireplace ; a wash-hand stand stood 
in a corner, and a table, two chairs, and a 
stool, made up all that our Highland friend's 
apartment could boast of. He greeted 
Stanhope warmly, but he was rather distant 
in his manner towards Brown and I, and I 
regretted havingcome upon him unexpectedly. 
However, I tried to put him as much at ease 
as possible, and talked away on a variety of 
topics, and related what I had witnessed 
lately in the High Street. By and by his 
manner thawed, he threw off his restraint and 
talked quite freely. 

I cannot give anything in the least 
approaching his manner of talking, but 
what he did say, I listened to with 

Although it was pretty cold weather, and 
hard frost at nights, there was no fire in the 
grate; and I could not help admiring the 
indomitable pluck and heroic endurance 
which induced Alistair to come to the 

54 Student Life, 

University with the intention of becoming 
more than a mere cottar. 

" I hef just had a letter from my poor 
mother at Tighnabruaich," he said, after he 
had become accustomed to our presence, " and 
I was fery glad to hef it. Her mother iss 
glad I hef -got a Bursary." 

** I am delighted to hear you say so," I 
said ; " and now, when I think of it, I saw 
your name, along with that of my friend 
Will Black's— do you know Will ? " 

** He iss a good lad," said Alistair, '* I got 

a five pound Bursary, but he got a fifteen 

one. I would hef had to gone home to 

' Tighnabruaich to help wi' the fishing, ef I 

had not won it." 

" And is your mother well ? " asked Brown. 

" She is fery well," was the reply. " It 
wass a friend in the place that wrote the 
letter, and it wass kind of him to do so." 

" You must come up and spend an evening 
with me," I said. " Could you come on 
Friday at six ? " 

'* She won't be used to company," said 
Alistair, blushing slightly. 

" O ! but there are several others coming 
you know, Alistair," I said. " Stanhope and 

A list air and the Professor: 55 

Brown, and Will Black, are to be with me. 
It's just to get better acquainted, you know, 
and you 11 be among friends, and feel at 

Stanhope and Brown saw my object and 
co-operated with me, and at last we succeeded 
in obtaining Alistair s consent. 

" I was up at Professor Blackie's, on 
Christmas-day," said Alistair, after this 
question had been agreeably disposed of. 

" Indeed," said Stanhope, " you seem to be 
a great favourite with the Professor." 

" He is fery fond of the Gaelic," said 
Alistair, " and told me he was sorry he was 
not born a Highlandman. But he can speak 
the Gaelic, and he was very kind, and I got 
a good dinner. He sang two Gaelic songs, 
and as I had brought my pipes, I played 
some of my uncle's reels, who is piper to the 
Duke at Inveraray, and I had a good time of 
it, and he gave me the plaid which you see 
lying on the bed there, as a Christmas 

"That was kind of him," I said, well know- 
ing the Professor's enthusiasm for anything 
appertaining to the Highlands. 

" Yes, and he wass telling me that he is 

56 Student Life, 

going to found a Celtic chair, so that the 
Gaelic will be taught in the University. Ah! 
he iss a good man/' 

Shortly afterwards we left. As we came 
out again into the open air, I made a mental 
resolution which I resolved to carry out to 
the best of my ability, as I knew it would 
benefit many of my fellow students, if they 
took advantage of the plan I had formed in 
my mind. 

As Brown and I came down Chambers 
Street, Stanhope having previously left us, 
my companion nudged my arm as we passed 
the Theatre of Varieties. 

" Look there,*' he said, pointing to the 

I looked and saw Macdonald, flirting with 
a female dressed like a lady, but whose 
painted cheeks and loud laughter belied that 

"It s very sad," said Brown, **to think 
that young men will frequent such places, 
and hover like moths in dangerous society. 
I am afraid that woman is no better than a 
street walker." 

The two crossed the road and entered a 
public house in Infirmary street. It was 

Alistair and the Professor. 57 

enough for both of us. Brown and I quick- 
ened our paces away from the -spot, as if the 
very air was full of dreadful malaria. 

" What sort of a doctor will he turn out to 
be ? " said Brown. 

" I am afraid he will never get that title/' 
I said, as I bade him good night. " But it 
sometimes happens that such fellows get on 
better than others with double their ability." 

But I had seen some other one at the door 
of the Theatre ; a bright, fresh young face, of 
whom I did not say anything. And this was 
none other than Will Black. 

J 8 Student Life. 

Chapter V. 



RIDAY night duly came 
round, and with it my ex- 
pected visitors. My good 
landlady had made a repast 
which I am sure would have 
tempted the appetite of an 
epicure. There was little 
fancy bread, but plenty of oat- 
meal cakes and scones, and 
other kinds of "grub," with half a pound of 
steak for each of my visitors, so that if their 
inward man was not satisfied after partaking, 
I could not say I was to blame. 

Stanhope and Brown came punctually. 
Then followed Geggin and Cowan, and Will 
Black, and just as I had rung the bell for the 
tea to be brought in, Alistair Macgregor 

Hard Working Students. 59 

entered. He had something under his arm 
in a green bag. I inwardly shuddered but 
said nothing, but could not help thinking 
what a tremendous noise his pipes would 
make in such a confined space. However, I 
greeted him warmly, and after he had de- 
posited his bag in a place of safety, he was 
introduced to the company. 

" I just thocht that the gentlemen would like 
to hear the pipes, so I just brocht them wi' me, 
in case you would be wantin* to hear them." 

"That 's right," said Geggin. "Cowan here 
will play the harmonium, and Fraser his 
fiddle, and you can skirl on the bagpipes, 
and I '11 wager my heid, but what we '11 have 
a splendid audience at the foot o' the stair, 
and on the street, listening to the beautiful 
harmonious sounds, before we have been 
playing for ten minutes." 

" Come, gentlemen, sit down to your tea," 
I said; "we will talk about Geggin's proposal 

" Fraser always throws a wet blanket on 
me, when I suggest any original idea," said 
Geggin. " However, as Solomon says there 
is a time for everything, so here goes for the 

6o Student Life. 

Every one did justice to the eatables, and 
AHstair, who was dressed in his best suit of 
clothes, looked a picture of satisfaction when 
he laid down his knife and fork, and talked 
highly in praise of the oat cakes, the like of 
which he had not tasted since the last time 
he paid a visit to the Castle of Inveraray, 
where he was feasted by his uncle, the piper 
to the Duke— as Alistair always took care to 
mention. After the tea things were cleared 
away by the landlady, we drew closely around 
the blazing fire. 

** Now, Alistair," I said, " I wish you would 
give us an outline of your history, and what 
induced you to come to the University." 

" Since you hef been so fery kind as to gif 
me such a feast, I will tell you what brought 
me to the College," said Alistair. " You 
must know that it was to become a scholar." 

'^Indeed!" interrupted Geggin, with a 
humorous twinkle in his dark eyes. " I have 
no doubt you '11 be wanting to wag your pow 
in a pulpit ? " 

" I will do my best to do so," said Alistair, 
** and then when I get a church I will bring 
my good mother and make her a fine lady, 
and she will not neM to keep a shop any more." 

Hard Working Students, 6i 

**. What did you do at Tighnabruaich ? " 
asked Will Black. 

** O ! I sometimes went away to the herring 
fishing wi' John M'Craw, an' sometimes I 
herded cattle and sheep up on the hills, but 
it wass a fery hard job in the winter, as they 
wandered away and got lost among the snow/* 

" And was that the way you made money 
to come to the University ? " 

" Yes," said Alistair, " and my mother gave 
me two pounds also." 

''Nil desperandum! and you'll pull 
through," said Geggin. "You are worth 
more than a dozen of the namby-pamby 
chaps, who lead fellows away to ruin by their 

I looked hard at Will Black, but although 
he caught my glance, he did not say anything. 

** By the way, Geggin," said Stanhope, 
" how are you getting along in your mission- 
ary sphere in Rose Street ? " 

" No bad ava," was the reply ; " I 'm 
winning my way into favour. But there's 
an unco lot o' Roman Catholics about the 
place. It's hard work, but I like it, and the 
Lord has been pleased to bless some o' my 
work already. I '11 tell you how I get into 

62 Student Life, 

strange houses — that's places where I ha'e 
never been afore, I mean. I knock at the 
door, an' whenever the guidwife comes wi* 
the bairn in her arms — it 's an awfu' place for 
bairns — I chuck the wee thing under the chin 
wi' my finger, and say, ' That s a braw bairn ; 
how auld may it be ? Has she ony teeth ? ' 
Of course, when I tell my errand, the mother 
bids me come inside, an' very likely there 's 
twa-three mair weans lying playing on the 
floor, so I pat them on the head, an' some- 
times take ane on my knees and talk 
away to him an' his mither, an' then by-an- 
by the conversation wears round to divine 
things, an' after reading and praying I come 
away, and generally get an invitation to come 
back as soon as possible. If ministers would 
not stand on such a lofty pedestal, they 
would do more good if there was less starch 
in their neckties." 

At this stage, Alistair cast such longing 
looks at the green bag, that I could not 
resist him ; and accordingly he treated 
us to a few reels, played with the full 
vigour of his lungs, while he marched 
up and down the room "as proud as a 

Hard Working Students, 63. 

** There s nothing can beat the pipes,'* 
said Alistair, as he concluded. 

I perfectly agreed with him on this point. 

" I say, Stanhope," said Geggin, " you and 
Alistair seem to have had an equal struggle 
to get here." 

" Perhaps so," was the reply ; " and that 's 
the reason why Scotchmen never know when 
they are beat. They keep peggin' away " 

" Until they make a Bannockburn," inter- 
rupted Cowan. 

" Exactly ; and then all former defeats are 
forgotten when success crowns their efforts. 
My father was a Dunfermline weaver," con- 
tinued Stanhope, "and I do not mean to 
speak any ill of him, when I say he was fond 
of a dram. There were five others beside 
myself in the family, and it took a hard struggle 
on my mother's part to make both ends meet. 
Many a time there wasn't a bit of bread in 
the house. Drink is Scotland's curse ; and as 
long as a Government is upheld by the revenue 
from that which makes devils of men and tigers 
of women, and ruins homes and hearths, it 
is just trafficking in the blood of souls." 

" Do you mean to say a publican cannot 
be a Christian man } " asked Will Black. 

^4 Student Life. 

** True Christianity is shown by a man's 
works," said Stanhope, " and the devil never 
found a better agent to people his kingdom 
than strong drink ; and if a man can stand 
behind a bar and look on his customers, and 
see their tatters and rags, their hollow glazed 
eyes and shaking hands, and say he is a 
Christian, I tell you he is a liar! He is play- 
ing into the hands of his father the devil ! 
But I am away from my subject. My father 
died while in delirium tremens^' said Stan- 
hope, "and I will never forget the sight till 
the end of my life. Well, my mother 
managed to give us a kind of schooling, and 
by and by my brothers got into situations, 
and things began to improve somewhat. 

" I go to the weaving every summer, and 
.save enough to pay my class fees for the 
winter session. But it s always a struggle. 
However, God helps those who help them- 
selves, as I have found out on more than one 
occasion. It was only last Friday night, 
when I came home to my lodgings, I found I 
had no funds to purchase anything for break- 
fast. I went down on my knees and took 
the case to the Lord, and about the middle of 
next day I got some teaching to do, and I 

Hard Working Students. 65 

always manage to keep my head above 

"And how do you manage to attend so 
many meetings ? " I asked. 

" By doing one thing at a time," was the 
enigmatical answer. 

I thought it would be time to mention the 
plan, I had formed, to the meeting. 

" Don't you think it would be a good 
thing if we formed ourselves into a kind of 
society, so as to help each other by mutual 
counsel and support } " I said. 

" How ? " said Geggin. 

" By meeting here once a month," I 
answered. " Let one of us, for instance, take 
a paper bearing on practical Christianity, let 
him read it, and then permit any one to 
make remarks thereon who likes. We must 
endeavour to get as many first year students 
as possible, because I am sure many of them 
are led into bad courses by older students. I 
have no doubt it would be the means of 
benefiting many." 

" It's a kind of thing that should do good, 
and I propose that we meet here, with 
Eraser's permission, this day week." 

It was agreed upon to do this, as the 
proposal met with the approval of all. 


66 Student Life. 

" It *s time something of the kind was 
instituted/* said Cowan. ** You know Camp- 
bell, don't you ? " 

"He that's coming out for a medical 
missionary ? '* I said. 

"Yes, the same one," was the reply. 

" Well, he was telling me that the Professor 
in giving a lecture in the class-room the 
other week, said, * Gentlemen, people used to 
believe in the immortality of the soul. But 
all that thing has been done away with now- 
a-days. No one believes in such stuff, except 
a few old wives. We have got beyond that 

"No wonder there are so many sceptics 
going out into the world," said Geggin. " I 
have a shrewd guess who that same Professor 
is ; but there are others who set a loftier 
example, and who help to send the students 
out to battle with the world in a higher 
strength than their own." 

" I will need to be going," said Will Black, 
looking at his watch, and then hurriedly 

" Sit down, man," I said, " it 's only nine 
o'clock; and you might wait for Alistair 
Macgregor. He goes your road I believe." 

Hard Working Students. 67 

" I can't wait," said Will ; " I made an 
appointment with some friends, and I do not 
like to break any engagement which I 

" I thought you would have waited for 
supper," I said, as I stood in the lobby and 
helped him on with his overcoat. 

" I couldn 't take any," was the reply. 
" And I must thank you for your kindness." 

" I say, Will, you know I have been longer 
in town than you have, and I wouldn't like 
to see you going to the bad in any way." 

" There 's no fear of that," said Will, with 
a laugh. 

" How often have you been to the theatre 
since you came to town ? " I asked abruptly. 

He started involuntarily at my question, 
which I saw was quite unexpected. 

" Oh ! just once or twice," he said, 
endeavouring to speak as carelessly as he 
could. " I wanted a little relaxation." 

'* A dangerous kind of relaxation to indulge 
in," I said. " I am afraid your mother at 
Millport would not like you to frequent such 

*' I 'm not going to stand here to be 
preached to," said Will, opening the door. 

68 Student Life, 

" If I had known you were going to do so, I 
wouldn't have come. I am not a baby in* 
leading strings." 

I felt sorry for him, and a little hurt also at 
his rudeness. 

" Good night, Will," I said, shaking hands 
with him. " Don't be offended at what I 
have said. Are you acquainted with Mac- 
donald, one of the medicals ? " 

" Yes. I met him — " and here he 
stopped. " I have known him for some time.. 
But I will need to hurry. Good-night," 
and away he went before I could utter another 

I returned to the room, but did not feel so* 
able to take part in the conversation as. 

My guests departed shortly after ten o'clock.. 
Alistair Macgregor said, " I thank you very 
much for your treat, Mr Fraser. I have not. 
enjoyed myself so much since I came to 

I was more than repaid when Alistair 
said this. He went down the street playing 
the " Campbells are coming," but apparently^ 
had just reached the foot of the street when 
it came to a sudden end ; and I learnt next 

Hard Working Students. 69 

morning that an officious policeman had put 
a damper on the Highlander's spirits by 
prohibiting him from playing, thus exceeding 
the limits of his duty, I am afraid. 

It was late that night before I retired to 
rest. I had much to think about, and felt 
uneasy about Will Black ; for I felt sure that 
if he and Macdonald, who was well off, went 
to theatres and public houses, Will's career 
would be a short and melancholy one. 

Student Life. 

Chapter VI. 


" For some are meant to right illegal wrongs, 
And some for Doctors of Divinitie." 


HREE fourths of the session 
had now run its course, and 
I had been busy working up 
for my " pass " examination 
in Classics, when, as I strolled 
inside the quadrangle one 
morning, I was greeted 
with, "Hullo! what's up this 
morning ? Surely the Pro- 
fessor has taken a fit of the gout. Come and 
read this, Fraser." 

I went forward, until I reached a small 
knot of students gathered round the entrance 
door to the Greek Class, among whom I 
recognised a number who were more inclined 
for fun than study on too many occasions. 
There was a notice posted up on the door. 

A MedicaVs Story. 71 

I got near enough to read it : " The Professor 
of Greek will be unable to meet his classes 

" Is there anything wrong with Blackie ? '* 
I asked Chapman, the janitor, who came up 
at this moment. 

" I don't think it is anything serious," was 
the reply. "He was lecturing at the Literary 
Institute last night. Perhaps he made too 
many jokes." 

" What was his subject ? " 

" It was something about the effects of 
humour and wit on a Gaelic constitution," 
said Chapman. " Blackie has got an idea 
into his head, that the language of the High- 
lands is dying out ; so he was advocating the 
cause of the dying. He must have hurt 
himself. I believe he wants to raise ten 
thousand pounds to found a Chair." 

** That *s not bad of Blackie, I must sav. I 
wonder if the Senatus would make him Pro- 
fessor of Celtic, if he is successful in raising 
the money ? " 

"There's no saying what they will do," 
said Chapman. "They might appoint a 
worse man than Blackie. He seems imbued 
with the very spirit that goes to make up the 

72 Student Life. 

Highland bard. But what is up with you 
fellows there ? " 

There was evidently some fun going on, 
for there was much laughing and joking heard 
behind us. 

" Oh ! it 's only a bit of fun we are playing 
off on the Professor," Said Aitchison. " We 
have simply changed the notice, so that it 
reads that Blackie will be unable to meet his 
lasses to-day" — and here he burst into a 

** That 's not bad for you, Aitchison," said 
Chapman, as he walked away ; " but the 
Professor will likely pay you back for all this." 

And the janitor was right. The Professor 
came round an hour afterwards, and observing 
the notice, again altered it, so that it read: 
"The Professor will be unable to meet his 
asses to-day." And so, after all, Blackie had 
the best of the joke. 

As the examination for classics was to take 
place in two days, I took as much advantage 
of the Reading Room as possible, looking 
over as many Calendars as I could ; as it gave 
me a good idea of the nature of the questions 
which would be asked, as the previous ex- 
amination ones were all printed. There was 

A MeduaVs Story, 73 

no charge made for consulting books in the 
Reading Room. The place was fully taken 
advantage of by students, and they could 
be seen with Latin and Greek dictionaries, 
translations, and other books, busily copying 
into their note books, or quietly reading; 
while some of their " chums," seeing them so 
engrossed, made little caps of paper, and 
set them cautiously on the top of their heads, 
causing a tittering and joking all around the 
victim, heightened, of course, by the latter's 
unconsciousness of it. It was sometimes 
very ludicrous to notice several of the students 
gathered together for a friendly confab, when, 
all at once the librarian would give a sudden 
" wheesh-h-h ! " For an instant there would be 
perfect silence, only to be succeeded by a 
sudden shuffling of a hundred pairs of feet, 
and ejaculations of " tut, tut, tut," till things 
gradually settled down to their ordinary mood. 

Some one suddenly tapped me on the 
shoulder, while I was examining the Calendars. 

Hullo ! Fraser, studying up for the exam } " 
I am trying to do so," I answered, as I 
recognised Jack Macdonald. His father was 
proprietor of a brewery, so that he never 
wanted funds. 

74 Student Life. 

" You have my best wishes for your success," 
said Macdonald. " I can tell you the exam- 
ination I had last October nearly floored me, 
but I pulled through. I had to drink several 
bottles of brandy, and a dozen or two of beer, 
before I recovered from the loss of so much 
brain power. But I take it pretty easy now." 


"Yes. I rather like the dissecting room. 
By the way, Fraser, you should have been 
there yesterday afternoon." 

" I 'm not a * medical/ " I said. 

" Oh ! I forgot that," was the reply. " It 
was quite a sensation scene, I assure you. 
Young Macnab, whose father has any amount 
of money, you know, stood close to the table 
with the rest of us where the body was lying, 
and a shrunken specimen of humanity it was." 

" Wheesh-h-h ! " came the librarian's warn- 
ing to keep silence, like the hissing of a 
serpent. Macnab merely turned his head 
towards the librarian, and said, " That fellow 
is an awful duffer, never mind him. But 
about young Macnab; he is a nervous 
fellow, you know. He looked at the corpse 
on the table, while the demonstrator was 
making an incision near the heart ; and then. 

A MeduaVs Story. 75 

all of a sudden, I heard a slight exclamation^ 
and then saw Macnab^s face turn ashy gray, 
and then he fainted — by no means the first 
case I assure you." 

" So I suppose," I answered. 

" Purdie and I carried him outside. For- 
tunately I had my pocket pistol with me ; sa 
after he began to revive I gave him a pull at 
it, which gradually brought back the colour 
to his cheeks. 

" What frightened you so } " asked Purdie. 

"It was my brother I saw on the dissecting 
table," said Macnab. 

"What!" we both exclaimed, "your brother! 
How comes this about .»* " 

Macnab gave a groan as he said, "He did 
something a number of years ago which my 
father did not approve of; so he ran away 
from home, leaving no address, and I have 
never seen him from that period till to-day." 

" I can tell you, Fraser, I felt sorrow for 
the beggar. Macnab thinks his brother was 
married, too. It looks bad ! " 

" There is something underneath it all 
which neither you nor I understand" I 

" I shouldn't wonder," said Macdonald, as. 

76 Stttcient Life, 

he left the place where I was sitting to go 
and talk with some one else. 

After leaving the Reading Room, I met 
Chapman outside. He kindly invited me up 
to inspect the Library Hall, as I had only 
obtained a very cursory glimpse of it on 

"Did you ever see Napoleon the First^s 
table ? '' he asked. 

" Not that I am aware of," I replied, as we 
entered the Hall. 

" Well, there it is,'* and here he pointed to 
an octagonal shaped table, at which the exam- 
iner usually sat. 

" How did it come here ? " I said. " Was it 
a gift ? " 

'' You can ascertain that for yourself ; " and 
here, undoing the clasp which held the table 
firmly down, it was put up on edge. I per- 
ceived a small plate some two inches long,^ 
with an inscription which read as follows : — 
*' This table, which was used by the Emperor 
Napoleon for breakfast, dinner, and supper, 
during his residence in Longwood, at St. 
Helena, was purchased for Mr Robert Maine 
of the Hon. East India Civil Service in 1822, 
by Mr A. Darling, Merchant in the Island, 

A Medicars Story. 79 

and Contractor for the Longwood Establish- 
ment." Then followed an inscription in 
French, and then the words : — " Presented to 
the Library of the University of Edinburgh, 
by R. Maine, Esq., H.E.I.C.S., 2nd March, 

"That is decidedly something worth 
having," I said. " If the table could speak, 
there would be many strange things said. 
Poor Nap ! " 

"A blood-thirsty villain," said Chapman. 
" I don't think he is in the least deserving of 
any one's sympathy. He Waded through 
carnage and blood to a throne, and just got 
what he deserved in the long run." 

"We don't all get what we deserve," I 
said ; " but do you recollect anything about 
Dr Chalmers ? " 

I said this to change the subject, as I had 
a sort of hero worship for Napoleon. 

Chapman shook his head as he replied, 
" No, that was before my time; but Professor 
Masson, I believe, can tell some good stories 
about him. I suppose you know the Divinity 
Hall ? " 

I have never been inside of it," I replied. 
Well, as I have a few minutes to spare, I 

8o Student Life. 

can take you there. " It was on the right side of 
the quadrangle, entering off the street, up a 
flight of narrow stone stairs. It was a very 
dingy and dark looking place, with a gallery 
supported by iron pillars, over the back seats, 
and on a level with the pulpit — one of these 
old fashioned tub looking affairs, where an 
energetic preacher would be "cribbed, 
cabined, and confined." 

" Masson told me that Chalmers always 
opened the class by prayer, which he had 
written down on a slip of paper," said Chap- 
man. "It was sometimes very amusing, I 
was told, when Chalmers, instead of beginning 
the prayer, would mutter something, descend 
from the pulpit, and go in haste to the vestry, 
raising the curiosity of the students, so that 
most of their reverential mood was done 
away with when he returned. Once he 
raised his hands in the attitude of prayer, and 
then muttered, *My artificial teeth have gone 
wrong/ so that Crawford, an old student, who 
is a minister now, and sometimes pays me a 
visit, burst into a kind of stifled laughter at 
the absurdity of the thing. But Chalmers 
was a splendid speaker, and was often 
interrupted by applause. He was a unique 

A MedicaVs Story. 8i 

man as much as Blackie is now a days, 
although in quite a different way." 

** Didn't Masson publish something about 
Chalmers ? " 

"Yes. In Macmillaiis Magazine, I be- 
lieve," was the reply. 

" Oh ! yes, I remember the article per- 
fectly," I said. " There was one phrase 
used by the Professor which struck me as 
very high praise, at the time." 

'* What was it ? " asked Chapman, as we 
descended the stair in single file. I had to 
wait till I got to the foot before replying. 

"It was simply this," I replied, " Merely 
to look at Chalmers, day after day, was a 
liberal education." 

"And yet his writings, are little read by 
students attending the University, I believe," 
said Chapman. "Such is fame, like the 
unsteady, flickering flame of a lamp, which a 
gust of wind may suddenly extinguish, or a 
greater light put in the shade." 


Student Life. 

Chapter VII. 

" Du hast das nicht, was Andre haheti. 
Und Andem mangeln deine Gaben ; 
Aus dieser Unvollkommenheit 
EntspringeC die Geselligkeil." 


MAN AGED to pull through 
my examination successfully. 
Fortunately for me the Latin 
extracts from Cicero's De 
Offiicis, and Livy, were ones 
which I was familiar with, 
although the Iliad puzzled 
me somewhat. The paper 
in Mathematics was some- 
thing at which I inwardly shuddered. I was 
never good at Mathematics, and my brain 
got so confused that my scholastic barque 
became nearly a wreck through them. This 
circumstance brings to my recollection an 
instance in the career of Professor Blackie, 
when he was a student at Aberdeen Uniyer- 

/ Pass in '^C lassies!' 83 

sity. He was, and is, a splendid Hellenist, 
but was always " plucked " in Mathematics. 

In a book which I borrowed recently from 
the Library, and written by Blackie himself, 
I found this written after his name, in pencil 
— "plucked five times in Mathematics!" 
which I believe is pretty near the truth : so 
that the Greek Professor never received his 
M.A., although higher honours were con- 
ferred upon him. 

I was gratified, several days after the 
examination, at finding I had "passed," 
although only 65 per cent, was marked after 
my name. 

Meanwhile, before this- had taken place 
several important things had occurred. The 
suggestion I had thrown out in January 
previous had taken effect, and a society had 
been formed, wherein many vital points were 
discussed, and it was the means of bringing 
many Christian lads into closer contact with 
each other. It was true there was a meeting 
for prayer every Saturday morning during the 
winter session, within the walls of the Univer- 
sity, which had been founded when M*Cheyne, 
and Burns the Chinese missionary were 
students at our Alma Mater; but young 

84 Student Life. 

students were shy of attending such meetings. 

After the meeting was over, there was 
usually a discussion took place on various 
matters, one of which I noted down and 
mention here. 

" I cannot bear the idea of ministers in 
comfortable manses, with splendid incomes, 
talking about the few labourers in the foreign 
field," said Cowan, " when they do precious 
little to help them/' 

Cowan was a hard working student, and a 
friend of Geggin's ; and besides, he was an 
orphan, and was maintained at the University 
through the liberality of a maiden aunt, who 
resided somewhere up in the Orkneys. 

"It's the drone bee that makes the most 
noise," said Aitchison, who has been casually 
mentioned in regard to the Alistair Macgregor 
kilt affair. " How many ministers' names do 
you ever observe in the lists of charities they 
advocate ? Why, I knew a case of a man — 
an elder in a Free Church — in this city, who 
was a perfect pest in asking people to give to 
the Sustentation Fund ; and yet who only 
gave three halfpence per month himself! " 
Is that true, Aitchison ? " said Cowan. 
Perfectly true," was the reply. ** I can 

/ Pass in ''Classics J' 85 

give you the man's name, if you like; he 
stays down in your direction. This same elder 
never got any money from a certain house he 
went to visit in the Canongate, as the man 
always pleaded he had nothing to give. The 
elder was going away in despair one day, 
when a lucky idea flashed through his brain. 
" Do you shave ? " says he to the man. 
**Yes, I go to the barber's thrice a week." 
" And how much does that cost you ? " 
" Sixpence." " Well, 1 11 tell you what I will 
do," said the elder, " I '11 buy you a razor at 
sevenpence ; you can shave yourself at home, 
and give the money saved to the Sustentation 
Fund, after paying me the price of my razor! " 

This story was greeted with a shout of 
laughter, being deemed incredible; but 
Aitchison satisfied all the sceptics by giving 
the name and address of both parties. 

" What do you intend coming out for "i " 
asked Geggin of Aitchison. 

" Oh ! I don't know yet," was the reply. 
'* But I think I '11 go in for the ministry, 
by-and-by. It 's just a profession." 

Aitchison had been some five sessions at 
the- University, but had never put any 
definite aim of work before himself. 

86 Student Life. 

"And do you intend to look upon it in the 
same light ? " 

**And why not?" said Aitchison, "It's 
an occupation that pays well, and you have a 

fine easy time of it, while you have an en- 
trance into the elite of society." 

" It seems a splendid business," said 
Geggin, with quiet sarcasm. 

" There 's no doubt about it," was the 
reply. " You may talk as you like, about the 
indifference of ministers to worldly advance- 
ment and monetary matters, but there is not 
a better race of speculators extant. They 
never leave their congregations because of 
the salaries they receive, oh no ! They are 
always called to a larger sphere of usefulness, 
or some humbugging thing of that sort. 
And can you tell me of a minister, in any 
church, .who does not know where to go for a 
wife ? They alw^ays manage to fall in love 
with the lady, in their district or out of it, 
who possesses the largest purse ! " 

" You have very strange notions of what a 
minister's duty really is," said Geggin. "A 
man should never think of qualifying himself 
for the ministry unless he is a converted man. 
Are you that ? As you cannot find a 

/ Pass in ''C lassies T 87 

congregation with perfect unity in all points, 
you must not expect ministers without a flaw. 
Ministers are but men ; and if we examined 
ourselves thoroughly, we would have less 
fault to find with our neighbours. Christ is 
to be our Master and Pattern ; and the 
more we follow His example the better for 
us all. But as it is time for me to go, I 
suppose you 11 accompany me ? " 

"Certainly," said Aitchison, and they left 
shortly afterwards. 

What Geggin said, I know not; but 
Alistair Macgregor was delighted to receive, 
a few days afterwards, a guinea from an 
unknown quarter, "to replace the damage 
done to his kilt several months previous." 
Stanhope had told me, it will be remembered, 
that it was Jack Aitchison who had played 
the trick upon Alistair, more to raise a laugh 
at his expense, than from any evil intention 
towards him. 

I did not, unfortunately, manage to see 
Will Black before he went away to Millport. 
I was sorry for this, as since the night I had 
spoken to him about going to the theatre, I 
thought he rather shunned me. I had seen 
him walking several times arm-in-arm with 

88 Student Life. 

Macdonald, who I felt sure would be doing 
him no good. AH things, however, are easy 
to a man who calculates, while everything is 
difficult to a fool. Will did not belong to 
either category, but seemed to me to be a 
passive instrument in the hands of an unscru- 
pulous student. A good name is easier lost 
than won ; and I was glad that the recess had 
come, so that he was free, for a time at least, 
from Macdonald's "set"; and I trusted that 
when he came back to the University, he 
would come with higher aims and firmer 
principles, to be an honour to his parents, as 
well as a humble ornament to his country. 

University Abuses. 

Chapter VIII. 
university abuses. 

"'Tis with our judgments as our watches; 
Are just alike, yet each beLeves hb own. 

NLIKE Will Black, I did not 
return home to Millport, as 
I had succeeded in obtaining 
a number of pupils, who 
would require teaching for 
three months to come. I 
was sorry to stay away from 
home, but I was also glad to 
think that by this means I 
would be a less burden on my parents. 

My youthful dreams of a minister's duties, 
when I first entered the Arts course, which 
extended to three, and in some cases four 
years, were very original, if I may so speak 
of them, A minister was a man with fine 
white hands, a ring on the third finger, fine 
perfumed moustaches, and who preached a 
sermon, or rather read an essay, to hurt 

90 Student Life. 

nobody's feelings, and to lull the congregation 
into a delightful sense of self complacency. 
When I obtained this portraiture of a minister 
I know not ; but although many years have 
passed away since then, my youthful ideal 
has been realised. I confess I have seen 

such a man in a certain church in G , at 

the back of which, in the quiet and hallowed 
graveyard, sleeps Burns's Highland Mary. 

I only saw the preacher once, and heard 
him preach once. I can still remember his 
text, and the person who sat in front of the 
gallery, busily engaged in perusing a volume 
of essays or a novel, and can recollect the 
calm dignity of the minister, as he glanced at 
the offender and said, " I will thank the 
gentleman in the gallery to stop reading 
while I am preaching, as I dislike such con- 

I thought it was delightful to lay down the 
law to a number of people and meet with 
no opposition. 

But now when I had finished two sessions 
of my college career, my mind had enlarged, 
and my views changed on these points. And 
I came to see that visiting and praying with 
the sick, of being where trouble and disease 

University Abuses. 91 

was, required something else than a mere 
foppish exterior, or intellectual attainments. 
A minister required to be a follower of Jesus 
Christ; and what would happen if he were not 
even a disciple, and following afar off? A 
man could not be a soul saver unless he was 
out of the wilderness of bondage, and saved 

I managed to take a run home to Millport 
in August. How I did enjoy the fresh sea 
breezes, and the joyous sunshine which never 
seemed to look so bright anywhere else ! I 
found my father and mother in good healthy 
and, needless to state, I spent a very happy 
time with them, talking of university themes 
and college life. 

Although I called frequently on the Rev. 
Mr Black, I never saw Will ; he was away 
visiting some friends, near Loch Lomond. I 
helped my father a little at his loom, and the 
time sped all too swiftly for me, and I was 
quite home sick for the first few days after I 
returned to Edinburgh, when the Winter 
Session was opened. But gloomy thoughts 
were soon banished as familiar student faces 
came crowding round me. Many a time I 
wondered to myself, how so many parents 

•92 Student Life. 

•could afiford to keep their sons at the 
University ; and if I could only have probed 
beneath the surface, what wonderful experi- 
ence might have been mine ! 

Will Black, as if there had never been any 
dryness between us, came rushing up to me, 
shook my hand heartily while he said : "How 
are you, Fraser ? " 

" Thank you. Will ; I am first-class," I 
replied. " I am glad to see you so fresh 
looking. How are you all at home ?" 

" I suppose you mean mother ? " Will said. 
'' The dear body is just as usual. But you 
must come up to my diggings to-night. I 
have got my trunk well filled with good 
things, and you '11 get a bit o' the salmon I 
brought with me. It was caught yesterday 
in Loch Eck, and given me by my cousin, 
who is a fisher." 

"Your cousin seems to be a splendid 
fellow," I said. 

" Isn't he, though ! " exclaimed Will. " I 
only wish you knew him. He stays in one 
of the loveliest spots on the Clyde, at Kilmun, 
some four miles from Loch Eck, and he is a 
great spouter of poetry and such like." 

"Some people in this world get a large 

University Abuses. 93. 

share of the good things of this life," I said. 
" But look here, Will ; here is a capital joke. 
' The Professor of Natural History will be 
glad if the student who took away his front 
TEETH from the Class Room, will kindly 
return them! " 

While we were laughing at this notice,. 
Cowan, who I thought was looking harassed 
and ill, came up and said, " I see you are 
laughing at that foolish joke. It seems that 
some student, whether through fun or malice, 
has taken away several front teeth belonging 
to a Gorilla, and the notice has been altered, 
to turn the joke on the Professor. It's 
about as much worth as scratching out the 
lower half of the letter B, when a notice is 
posted up, saying, ' No Bills are Allowed.' " 

"We might have known it was a joke, 
Fraser," said Will, after Cowan left us. 
" How has Blackie been conducting himself 
during the recess ? " 

"Oh! about his usual," I replied. "He 
said a very smart thing the other night in a 
lecture he gave, when referring to the false 
claims of Rome." 

" Indeed, what w^s it ? " 

"He was endeavouring to combat the idea 

94 Student Life. 

respecting what several enthusiastic Roman- 
ists hold, that the very chair in which the 
Pope sat when in Council, was the identical 
one used by Peter the disciple." 

"What stuff and nonsense!" said Will. 
*' Who would believe such arrant humbug ? 
What did Blackie say to that idea ? " 

** Oh ! " I answered, " Blackie said he 
quite believed the story: for if what they said 
was true, then it was in that very chair that 
Peter sat when he denied his Master, and that 
was what the Popes of Rome had been doing 
all along ! " 

"Capital!" said Will. " That ^s like 
Blackie, and straight from the shoulder. 
But you will come up to my diggings to- 
night, Eraser ? " 

"I will try to do so," I answered. I 
managed to do so. He stayed quite near to 
the University, in Lothian Street, and had 
the same rooms he had occupied the previous 
year. The dining room was large and airy, 
and a number of good engravings, with two 
pictures in oils hung on the walls. One of 
the latter, the portrait of a very nice looking 
girl seemingly about thirteen years of age, 
attracted my attention at once. 

University Abuses, 95 

" Who is that, Will ? " I asked. 

" Oh ! I beUeve that is the portrait of the 
landlady's daughter," he said. 

"She seems good looking," I said. "Has 
it been taken recently ? " 

" Her mother is a widow, and has no 
money now-a-days to waste on such things," 
he replied. "It was taken some seven years 
^g"o> by a brother of hers who was an artist, 
but died abroad." 

"You seem to have come to pretty snug 
quarters," I said. 

Will, whether unintentionally or not, ignored 
the meaning of my question, as he answered 
^' Yes ; I get every attendance, and feel as 
comfortable as if I was at home. But haul 
in your chair and sit down." 

" Are you not expecting any others 1 " I 
asked in some surprise, thinking that the table 
was too heavily laden for even two students 
to make much impression on. 

" I quite forgot, Fraser," he said. " Please 
excuse my forgetfulness. But here they are," 
and at this moment Alistair Macgregor and 
Andrew Geggin stepped into the room. We 
sat down. The salmon, brought in by the 
landlady's daughter, was really splendid ; 

96 Student Life, 

while the home baked scones and cakes dis- 
appeared with marvellous rapidity. 

" You '11 be going to take Logic and Meta- 
physics this year, I suppose, Will ? " asked 

"Yes, I intend doing so. My uncle has been 
helping me a bit during the recess, so I think 
I will be able to take the Moral Philosophy 
also, and manage my other classes besides, 

"We have good teachers in both depart- 
ments," said Geggin. " I like Calderwood's 
lectures very much. He is what the Scotch 
divines of the old school would call a ' sound 
man,' on most points. But you will need to 
exercise your reasoning powers, Will, my boy ; 
and if you don't get floored with that hydra- 
headed thing called Logic, you will be a lucky 
fellow. Why, Fraser there could easily prove 
to you that you have no existence at all." 

** On earth there 's nothing great but man. 
In man there's nothing great but mind," I 

" There is one thing, however, I would like 
reformed in University training," said Geggin. 
"When at home all that I read was carefully 
watched, and no impure literature of any 

University Abuses, * 97 

kind was allowed in the house. This was 
quite right. But look at the kind of abomin- 
able stufif some of the Professors go in for 
now-a-days. I tell you, Fraser, it 's a scandal 
and a disgrace to any great training school. 
I don't go in for being so strait-laced as the 
university authorities were over in Mel- 
bourne or Sydney, I forget which." 

" What happened there } " asked Will. 

"Why, the Professors of Rhetoric had 
intimated in their Calendar, that Sir Walter 
Scott's Marmion would be used as one of the 
class books, at the next session ; but some of 
the Roman Catholic big wigs got up an 
agitation about there being something against 
their religion in it, so they appealed to the 
Senatus to prohibit it, with the result that the 
Senatus had to cave in, although it was a loss 
to several booksellers who had laid in a 

" Such arrant asses ! " exclaimed Will. 

" Who are ? " I asked. 

"Why, these crotchety people," was the 
reply. " It will only make a run for the 
book with the general public. Human 
nature contains a vast amount of that by 
which Pandora was supposed to let loose 


98 Stttdent Life. 

upon the world all the evils that afflict it. 
But what were you going to say about our 
Alma Mater, Geggin ?" 

" Simply this, that very impure books are 
chosen by the Greek and Latin Professors to 
enable the students to get an insight into the 
true nature of the writers of bygone ages. 
Look at Lucian for instance, or Catullus, or 
even Ltccretius. They talk about Rabelais 
being immoral ! I would like to know if the 
reading of the writers I have named is not 
calculated to develop the latent evil lying 
dormant in every heart. And it only whets 
curiosity to know more, and so leads from 
bad to worse. I think there should be a 
greater striving to keep the young students' 
minds uncontaminated, at least while inside 
the walls of the University." 

" It*s all very true what you say," I said; 
"but teaching from these books is not 
confined to our University alone. There are 
greater sinners to be found elsewhere; and 
really, a classical education is essentially 
necessary to understand many faiths and 
beliefs, of which we would otherwise be 
ignorant of." 

" That doesn't make things any better,'* said 

University Abuses. 99 

AUstair, taking part in the topic under 
discussion for the first time. " What is not 
allowed in any public school, should not be 
allowed to be taught in any university. Two 
wrongs do not make a right. A university 
life has more dangers than parents suppose, 
unless they have gone through a classical 
education themselves. Why, one of the 
Librarians in the Reading Room told me 
last session, that there were many students 
who would not take a Greek or Latin text 
unless they got the * crib ' along with it." 

" And what do you infer from that ? " I 
asked, glad to notice that Alistair's mode of 
speaking and expressing himself had greatly 
improved since he had first entered the town. 

"It shews another defect in the system 
of admitting students to a university cur- 
riculum," said Alistair, wandering a little from 
the subject in hand, however. " If a student 
cannot read a Greek or Latin author, or make 
sense of the text by the aid of a dictionary, 
he should go back to school again." 

" Hear ! hear ! " said Will. 

" I think Alistair is pretty correct in his 
views," I said. " But there are other things 
which need reforming as well as these." 

lOO Student Life. 

" Fire away, Fraser," said Geggin. " Out 
with your complaint." 

"It is not exactly a complaint," I said. 
"It is more in the way of a defect than 
anything else. I think, then, that no Professor 
should be . allowed to examine his own 
students at a pass examination, or to draw up 
the questions." 

"That's a sore which will not be easily 
healed, I am afraid," said Geggin. "Why, 
take for instance the way one of the Professors 
in the University does. He has published a 
book. Most students possess it, and he 
reads several pages of it to them every day 
the class meets, and then the same Professor 
draws up the questions, based on these 
lectures, which they have, or should have, by 
heart. That is not doing justice by any 
means, — it 's too mechanical work, — although 
some of the students may have a difficulty in 
answering the questions." 

" Every man is a splendid politician at his 
own fireside," said Alistair. " I am afraid, to 
attempt to reform the things we have spoken 
of to-night, would just be like the thrown 
away energy of Sisyphus." 

As I had to make arrangements for a 

University Abuses. loi 

bicycle run to RosHn, a place some seven 
miles from the town, I took my leave, hoping 
the happy day would soon dawn, when 
anything that had a tendency to drag the 
wheels of spiritual progress would be done 
away with. 

Student Life. 


HOMAS COWAN was one 
of these quiet, hard plodding 
students, who seemed always 
at work. He took very 
little relaxation, and the con- 
sequence was that he had a 
careworn appearance, and 
it seemed as if he carried 
double the cares of any other 

He was Treasurer of the University 
Prayer Meeting, and a most earnest and 
conscientious worker. He got me prevailed 
upon to attend it, and after that was accom- 
plished I was rarely absent. There would be 
some twelve hundred Arts students or more 
at the University ; but although the Saturday 
meeting for prayer was well known among 

A Grassmarket Adventure, 103 

them, there was rarely more than thirty 
present. Some of the students were quite 
above attending such meetings ; and when 
invited to attend, flatly said they did not want 
to become *' goody-goody " and better than 
their neighbours. 

After I had attended the meetings for 
several consecutive mornings, I found out 
the real reason of their absence. It was not 
because they did not want to be better than 
their fellow students, although what they 
meant by the word " oetter " would be some- 
what difficult to define. It was simply, as I 
found out in my own experience, that they 
would need to give up frequenting doubtful 
places of amusement, and other bad habits, if 
they became members of the Association for 
Prayer ; and as they were not prepared to do 
this, they stayed away. 

One benefit leads on to another. Not 
content with getting me to join the Prayer 
Meeting, which was conducted on the same 
principle as those in connection with churches. 
Cowan also prevailed upon me to join the 
Total Abstinence Society, and the Missionary 
Association. I had always been a teetotaller, 
believing that drink works more ruin than 


104 Student Life. 

anything else ; but when one gets acquainted 
with people of similar views, it tends to 
strengthen and develop them. Professor 
Calderwood was the president of the Total 
Abstinence Society. He made an admirable 
one ; and when he gave an address, it was 
pregnant with practical truths. 

As the Missionary Association met at ten 
o'clock on the Saturdays, I could only attend 
it occasionally. It was intended to stimulate 
and encourage the zeal of those who intended 
becoming workers in the vineyard of the one 
great Master. Geggin and Cowan were 
members of all the Associations I have men- 
tioned, as was also Stanhope, and a goodly 
number of kindred spirits. 

Will Black fought shy of all these places. 
If he went to church twice a day, he did not 
see the use of turning a week day into a 
Sabbath. He and I had ever remained 
good friends, and I trusted that the combined 
influence of Geggin, Cowan, Stanhope and 
myself would yet turn the scale, and he 
would become more steadfast, and determined 
to follow out in its higher aspects the career 
which he had mapped out for himself. I 
think most people are quite unaware, or do 

A Grassmarket Adventure, 105 

not think of the unconscious influence which 
other minds exert over their own. Our 
actions and conduct in life is a perpetual 
sermon either for good or evil. 

Stanhope was a student with whom you 
would not very likely care to be seen with 
in fashionable society. In fact he was one of 
those kind of people whom polite society 
would count a perfect nuisance. But yet, all 
the same, he was vastly superior to such 
particular persons, who would not be able to 
take their part in conversation, if they knew 
there was a minute speck of dust on their 
shirt front. 

** I wish, Fraser, that you would come 

along and hear Dr K ," he said to me 

one day, as we met on the street. 

**I suppose he will be worth hearing," I said. 

" I wouldn't have asked you, if I thought 
otherwise," he answered. 

I agreed to go ; so on the following Sabbath, 
I found myself, along with Stanhope, sitting 
in the church. The church was but sparsely 
attended ; but I did not look upon this as a 
bad sign, for I had found out that the most 
evangelical and. practical preachers have 
seldom the largest congregations. 

io6 Student Life, 

The subject was "the influence of con- 
version on a man's daily life." The sermon 
was exceedingly well handled, and it was 
listened to with great attention. I do not 
intend to insert here a sermon in full, like a 
certain voluminous author of the present 
day; but there was one point in particular, 
which certainly shewed that the preacher was 
a man who was not afraid to ask knotty 

" Well, what do you think of the sermon ? " 

" I don't feel very comfortable in my mind," 
I said. " But there was one point which Dr 
K — raised, that is not easily answered." 

" What was that ? " asked Stanhope. 

"Why,'' I said, "he asked, and almost 
answered in the negative, his own question, 
which he propounded. Can a publican be a 
really converted man, and continue to sell 
that which ruins body and soul ? " 

" I think he was perfectly right in leading 
his hearers to understand that it was hypocrisy 
to suppose a publican could. No man can 
serve two masters; and a publican pleases 
the devil by polluting the temple of God, 
muddling the man's brains, and blasting his 
hopes of eternity." 

A Grassmarket Adventure. 107 

"We are told to judge not," I said. 

" Why," said Stanhope, ** our life is a con- 
tinued act of sitting in judgment on other 
people. It is by judging of a man's works 
that we are able to discern, according to our 
own preconceived opinions, whether they 
tend to good or evil ; and if my father died of 
delirium tremens through drink given by a 
publican, is the seller not worse than the man 
with the depraved appetite ? No, no, Fraser ; 
if a publican was really a converted man, he 
would try to please Christ his Master, by 
working His works." 

"It may be all very true what you say," I 
said, "but I cannot exactly go your length 
and agree with you on this subject." 

" A really converted man is prepared at all 
times to forsake all and follow Christ. No- 
cross, no crown. But in my opinion, conver- 
sions now-a-days are wrought in the most 
genteel fashion, and people can go to balls 
and theatres, and drinking saloons, just as 
formerly. Now look at brewers for instance. 
Why is it that they give to so many charities, 
and build churches, and then leave large sums 
for religious purposes after they die ? " 

" Because they can afford to do so," I 

io8 Student Life. 

replied, wishing myself well out of the 

"It is nothing of the kind I believe/' 
answered Stanhope. "It is simply because 
they think to pave their way to heaven by 
being generous when they 2X^ forced to do it ; 
to throw a kind of sop to their conscience, 
which is continually urging them to abandon 
a traffic which they know a pure and holy 
-Creator detests." 

As a member of the Missionary Association, 
I sometimes took the idea into my head to 
pay a visit to the poorer houses of the city, 
and on the evening after the above conver- 
sation, I found myself in a house in the 
Grassmarket, famous as the locality in which 
many notable things took place in by-gone 

"You'd better gang ben, sir," said the 
landlady of the place. " I 'm thinking that 
the puir woman is no lang for this world. 
An' yet she has been a young bonnie creatur' 
in her day." 

" I think I had better not go in, Mrs 
Smith," I said. 

" Hoots, sir ; dinna be so bashfu'," she 
replied. "If you can cheer up the woman. 

A Grassmarket Adventui^e, 109- 

you'll do a lot o' guid, and bring a pickle 
sunshine into her life. Her name is Mrs 
Macnab. You can ask for the bairn — he is 
a nice wee fellow ; and I 'm unco vext that 
she is so hard up. The right hand o' the 
house is sair missed. But just gang ben \' 
and here the worthy woman opened a door, 
while she said, " Here 's a visitor for you, Mrs 
Macnab," and I found myself left alone to do 
what I could to explain my presence. 

It was a poorly furnished room, but every- 
thing was neat and clean. A little boy, some 
two years old, lay on the floor playing with a 
string of empty reels. 

I adopted Geggin's plan ; and having some 
confections in my pocket, the boy and I were 
soon good friends. The mother had been 
and was even yet good looking; but hard 
work and little food had wrought their work. 
What I said I know not ; but after introducing 
myself, I chatted away about Stanhope and 
the sermon I had heard, told stories, and did 
my best to make Mrs Macnab feel at her 

In this I perfectly succeeded, and I soon 
found her relating the most prominent points 
in her past life; and all at once, as she 

no Student Life. 

mentioned how her husband had been buried 
by the authorities at the Infirmary, I took in 
the situation at a glance, as the story which 
Macdonald had told me some time ago, about 
the student in the anatomical room, occurred 
to my mepiory. This was young Macnab's 
sister-in-law, I felt assured. 

" Do you know if your husband had a 
brother attending the University ? " I asked. 

" Well, sir, I couldn't say as to that," was 
the reply. " Henry, now that I think of it, 
did mention Charlie's name, and of how he 
was going to be a doctor; so there is a 
possibility of it being the same person." 

"Would it agitate you too much to see 
him ? " I asked. 

" Bring Charlie Macnab here ! " she 
exclaimed, "not for the world. He will just 
be like the rest of the family I have no doubt, 
and I do not wish him to know my poverty." 

" Then, Mrs Macnab, can I do anything for 

, you ? " 

" No, nothing that I know of," was the 
answer, "although I would like to get back 
to Nettle wood again. But I '11 need to wait 
till I get rich," and here Mrs Macnab tried 
to smile, but failed. 

— 1 

A Grassmarket Adventure. iii 

She was the only daughter of an iron 
merchant in Nettle wood. Her father doted 
upon her, and when Henry Macnab came to 
the place, and after a brief courtship asked 
lier hand in marriage, he was refused, as he 
had no profession, but depended on his father, 
who had a fine estate not above ten miles 
from Nettlewood. The lovers were too 
infatuated, however, to listen to any kind 
of reason which put a barrier in their way, so 
they accordingly eloped, with the result that 
Mr Macnab received a letter from his father 
enclosing a ten pound note, but forbidding 
all future intercourse with him. The lovers 
did not care for this. They were happy in 
each other's society, but by the end of a year 
they began to feel the pinch of poverty. By 
this time they were living in Edinburgh, 
where their baby was born. Mrs Macnab 
wrote to her father, but her letters were 
returned unopened. 

Henry found employment for some time as 
a clerk, and then as a man going with boards 
on his back through the streets. Leaving 
both these employments, he obtained an 
engagement as a porter on the North British 
Railway, with the result, in a few month's 

112 Student Life. 

time, that he was completely knocked up, and 
his health seriously undermined. He was 
taken to the Infirmary, but the treatment 
there could not stop the progress of the 
disease. Worn to skin and bone he 
succumbed, and died leaving his widow in 
very poor circumstances ; but up to the 
present time, having obtained dressmaking 
and other things to do, she had managed to 
keep the wolf from the door. 

Such was Mrs Macnab's story, and I could 
not help pitying her. 

As I came away, Mrs Smith, the landlady, 
drew me aside, and said : " I didna ken 
whether Mrs Macnab would be angry wi* me 
or no*, but I saw her faither*s address on a 
book lying in her room, so I just sent awa a 
letter to him, telling him that his daughter 
was just starving herself, an' if he didna come 
quick, she would likely be in her grave. I 
don't think she is as far through as that, sir, 
but I thocht I might as well gie the hard, 
unrelenting sinner a fricht. Gude pity us a* 
if the Lord was to keep a face o' brass to us 
a our days, because we ance did something 
wrang. Do you think I did right, sir ? " 

" I think you have, Mrs Smith," I said. 

A Grassmarket Adventure, 1 1 3 

" But would a few shillings be of any service 
to Mrs Macnab, do you think ? " 

" Haud your tongue on that subject," said 
the worthy woman. " She has a bit o' Scotch 
pride in her; she winna tak' naething 
without she works for it. Thank you a' the 
same. Will you be back again ? " 

" I '11 look in to-morrow night," I said, " and 
I hope your letter will have good effect." 

" We will just leave it a' in the hands o' 
Providence," said Mrs Smith ; and I thought 
after what she had done, that it was a wise 


Student Life. 


" Who will not give 
Some portion of his ease, his blood, his wealth, 
Kor others' good, is a poor, froien chnrl." 


HE society which I had 
started the previous session 
continued to progress ; and 
such was the interest taken 
in it, that my dining-room 
was getting so packed that I 
set about planning where we 
would get a small hall on easy 
terms, so as to continue and 

develop the work begun. 

Will Black came occasionally ; but he had 

an anxious, careworn look — whether from 

excessive study or mental anxiety I could 

not make out. 

" I think there is no student in all the 

University who has so much to struggle 

against as I have," he said to me one night, 

after our meeting was over. 

Charlie Macnab's Surprise. 115 

" Why do you think so ? " I asked. 

" Because my mind is always in a perpetual 
whirl and bustle, as if I never could get time 
for quiet and calm reflection. I think Mac- 
donald does me no good." 

•' Then why don't you give up frequenting 
his company ? " 

" For the simple reason that I cannot do 
so," he replied. " I am caught in a net which 
I am unable to break through. Macdonald 
has become a part of my existence, and sticks 
to me like a shadow in the sunshine. I think 
there never was any one so plagued and 
annoyed as I am. I wish I had stayed at 
Millport, as there is a pestilence in university 
life which threatens to stifle my career." 

" There is always a pure as well as a foul 
moral atmosphere in all classes of society," 
I replied. "You know Geggin and 
Stanhope ? " 


" Do you ever see them at any places of 
amusement which Macdonald and yourself 
frequent ? " 

Will shook his head as he replied in the 

" Then, why don't you do as they do ? I 

ii6 Student Life. 

don't want to know what is troubling your 
mind ; but I wish, Will, you would keep in 
mind what your mother has sent you here 

" For any sake, Fraser, don't preach at me, 
I am far worse than you imagine. I drink, 

I gamble, I *m in debt, and I am ," and 

here he stopped in his confession. 

I own I was surprised at this outburst ; but 
knowing the snake in the grass that had 
poisoned Will, I thought the tempter was far 
more to blame than the tempted. 

"Then, do not make matters any worse, 
Will," I said. " Pay every one as you go 
along, and 1 11 come up as often as I can to 
see you." 

" I 'm afraid it 's too late," said Will, as he 

"It's never too late to mend," I said; but 
all the same I felt assured there was something 
which Will Black had not told me, which 
accounted for his uneasiness and disquietude. 

I got acquainted with Charlie Macnab, and 
found him a very intelligent and pleasant 
fellow. He was not of a robust make, and 
looking at his slim built figure, and noticing 
his nervous manner, it seemed a wonder he had 

Charlie MacnaUs Surprise. 117 

stood so long the trying ordeal which all 
medical students must pass, in the way of 
*' exams," before obtaining their degree. He 
was a member of the University Prayer 
Meeting, and was about the only medical 
student that attended it; medicine and religion 
seeming not to agree in the minds of the 
rising generation. 

On relating my visit to his sister-in-law, he 
was quite startled with the knowledge that 
she was in town, and at once pressed me to 
go and visit her. 

Several things having come in the way 
since the night I had seen Mrs Macnab, I 
had not been able to visit her as soon again 
as I intended. 

When Charlie and I ascended the stair 
where Mrs Macnab lived, he gave an 
involuntary shudder. "To think that my 
brother's wife lives here ! " he exclaimed. 

" I say, Fraser, is she awfully poor ? " 

" She is not rich," I said ; " but you know 
there's never an ill, but what micht be a 
waur." Mrs Smith opened the door, and 
when she saw me, she exclaimed, " Ech ! sir, 
the nest 's flown, the birds are awa ! " 

" My sister is not dead surely ! " exclaimed 
my companion. 

1 1 8 Student Life. 

" No, no; it's no' so bad as that," said Mrs 
Smith. " But come in, sirs. And you 're 
her brither, young man ? " 

" Her husband s brother," I said. " But 
what 's up that Mrs Macnab has left you so 

" The letter I sent did the business," was 
the reply. " Her faither cam' here in an 
unco state the next day after you had been, 
an' after an unco sighing and sobbing took 
her an' the bairn awa hame." 

" That 's so far satisfactory," I said : " you 
have done one good deed any way." 

" Did she leave any message ? " asked 

'* None whatever. The auld gentleman 
gave her no time to do that. He paid me 
handsomely, however, before he went away." 

" It was a pity poor Henry did not write 
home to father and state his real position," 
said Charlie to me, when we reached the 
street once more. *' I am sure he would have 
relented and sent him money. Oh, Fraser ! 
I think I never will get rid of the sight of 
my brother lying on the dissecting table. It 
was horrible ! " and here he fairly shivered at 
the recollection. 

Charlie Macnab's Surprise. 119 

" There were faults on both sides," I said. 
" You should write and tell your father what 
you know ; and I think if you were dropping 
a kind letter to Mrs Macnab, it would be a 
real pleasure for her." 

'' 1 11 do that, Fraser," was the reply. '' But 
I think I '11 need to take Shakespeare's advice 
and 'throw physic to the dogs/ I don't 
think I can stand this kind of work much 
longer. I '11 stay till the professional exam- 
ination, however, before I go home and see 
father. Good-by, Fraser ; come up and see 
me soon," and away he went, with a nasty 
cough dwelling in my ears, long after he had 
left me, and I could not help saying, " Alas ! 
poor Charlie ! " 

Student Life. 


" By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd ; 
The sports of children satisfy the child." 

— Goldsmilh. 

SAY, Fraser, have you heard 
the news this morning ? " 
cried Will Black to me, as I 
came out of the Moral Phi- 
losophy class room. 

" What news ? " I asked. 
" Is it that new poem of 
Blackie's, which runs : — 

' If I had land, as I have none, 

The people round me I would gather. 
And every lad I 'd call my son, 

And every lass should call me father, 

' And to each kilted cottar, I 

Would say, with word so kind and clannish, 
" God bless you all to multiply. 
And earth with Celtic seed replenish." ' 

Now, Will, isn't that a generous individual ! 
Why, the man would become a Highland 

Will Black in Danger. 121 

Adam, only he's afraid the Government 
would not allow his aspirations to be fulfilled." 

" Yes ; that 's quite true," replied Will, "and 
then there would be no use of this splendid 
Celtic monument which he is trying to rear, be- 
cause it would put an end to the Macphersons, 
the Macgregors, and the whole race of * Macs,' 
if every son and daughter in the Highlands 
were to become Blackies. And then what 
would become of the Gaelic by and by, if every 
one were to say * father,' instead of athair ? " 

"That's the benefit of learning logic 
methodically," I said. ** But what was the 
news you were going to tell me ? " 

" Oh ! simply this, that Macdonald has got 
his quietus for some time, I think," said Will, 
in a tone of voice which seemed to imply that 
any disgrace that befell Macdonald would be 
good news. " I will tell you how it happened, 
as we stroll round the quadrangle. I was 
out at a party last night. I don't need to 
mention the house. There would be some 
two dozen people there altogether, of whom 
some half a dozen were students. Among 
them was Macdonald and Purdie, Morton 
and myself. There was plenty wine and 
brandy going, and it was pretty late before 

122 Student Life. 

the party broke up. Nothing would prevent 
Macdonald and a few of his party, however, 
from proceeding out to the toll-bar at Mayfern. 
It was after twelve o'clock, and of course the 
gates were shut. As I heard the story, 
Macdonald said something to the more reck- 
less, with the result that they lifted the gates 
off their hinges, carried them some twenty 
yards away, and then flung them over a dyke, 
down a steep embankment. All this was done 
amid uproarious laughter and a good deal of 
swearing; for work of this kind cannot 
be done without that, you know, Fraser." 

" I am sorry to hear it,'* I said. ** How 
did you know there was any swearing ? " 

'* Because I heard them," said Will. 

" Then you were with Macdonald also ? " 

" No, no, Fraser ; you are wrong there," 
said Will, seeing the mistake he had made. 
'* I simply took a walk down Newington, in 
the direction of the toll, to cool myself before 
going home, and could not avoid hearing the 
row they were kicking up." 

"It looks bad for you also," I said. " The 
Senatus may haul you up as a witness, if this 
affair comes to their ears. And perhaps you 
may get a reprimand also, and then your 

Will Black in Danger. 125 

name will appear as a ' rowdy ' in the 
columns of the Scotsman ; and I should not 
wonder if Macdonald managed to clear 
himself after all, as I think, from what I have 
seen of him, that he is a fellow with a good 
bit of the fox in his composition. Was there 
any one with you, or were you alone ? " 

" I was not alone," said Will. "If it 
wasn't for the black look-out, the * lark ' is a 
very good one. The toll-keeper came out 
and tried to capture some of the students, but 
it was no * go.' " 

It will be seen, by this conversation, that 
Will Black was still keeping on his ruinous 
career. The soft, gentle way which he had 
when he first came to the University, had 
given place to a careless and reckless manner, 
which boded ill for his future career. My 
friend Geggin had tried to win him over to 
his side, but Will was decidedly ill at ease, 
and plainly told him that he did not want his 

" You and Fraser can go and make muffs 
of yourselves as you like, and pray with a lot 
of old fashioned women, who will talk about 
you as being good lads and such like. I 
want to enjoy life ; so you needn't bother 

124 Student Life. 

troubling yourself about me, Geggin. I 
believe it is a plot between yourself and 
Fraser to draw me to your prayer meetings. 
I 'm above going to these places." 

" Puir chap ! " said Geggin. " Fraser and 
I are just babies, I suppose. But it 's better 
to be babes and drink the milk o' God, than 
gang to destruction wi' your eyes open." 

As all the students fully expected, the 
-exploit about lifting the toll gates was duly 
taken notice of by the Senatus. Fortunately 
for Macdonald no evidence to . criminate him 
was forthcoming, although circumstantial 
evidence was strong against him. He and 
Purdie got a reprimand, however, and were 
told to behave with more circumspection in 
the future, and so the matter ended. 

About this time I happened to call up at 
Will Black's lodgings, with a translation of 
the Hecuba of Euripides. Will Black had 
not gone home during the Christmas holidays, 
as he said that he wanted to read up some of 
his classics, in which he was falling behind. 

While we were sitting talking together, 
there was a tap at the door, and the land- 
lady's daughter said, " Oh ! Mr Black, your 
father and mother have called to see you. 
Shall I show them in ? " 

IVill Black in Danger, 125 

" Certainly. By all means," was the reply, 
and in another minute his parents entered the 

" My dear Will, I declare, you are working 
too hard," said his mother, after the first 
greetings were over. " You will kill yourself 
by over study." 

WilFs face grew a bright crimson as he 
replied, " Tuts, mother, you are too fussy and 
anxious about me. I am perfectly well, as 
Fraser here can testify." 

" I don't think that Will will hurt himself 
with overwork," I said. " He should know 
by this time how to take care of himself." 

" Let us hope so," said his father. " Have 
you seen the evening paper ? " 

" Not yet." 

" Then you won't have seen the sad death 
of the student, a Mr Cowan." 

"What!" I exclaimed. "It surely can't 
be Tom Cowan you mean ? " 

" Here it is," said Mr Black, reading the 
paragraph : " A melencholy affair occurred 
between five and six o'clock this morning. 
Thomas Cowan, a promising student at the 
University, had been laid past for a week 
or so with typhoid fever, supposed to have 

126 Student Life. 

been brought on by overwork. His land- 
lady left his room to get something for him, 
when Cowan got up out of bed, threw up the 
window, jumped out, and falling into the 
court below sustained a severe fracture of 
the skull, and died an hour afterwards. It is 
supposed the fever had mounted to his brain, 
and so hurried him to commit this rash act." 

Poor Tom Cowan ! And this was his end. 
Dead! I could not stay in the room any 
longer, but hurried away outside, with every 
pulse from my heart repeating eternity! 
eternity! eternity! 

It is frequently at the very time when all 
the world seems full of sunshine that the cup 
of joy is dashed from our lips. Truly 
Lucretius was right; "Surgit amari aliquid 
quod in ipsis floribus augat," which may be 
freely translated thus : — 

" Full from the fount of joy's delicious springs 
Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings." 

" Sold'' by a Student. 

Chapter XII. 


" Lest men suspect your tale undue. 
Keep probabilEty in view. " 

— Gay 

N " Tom Brown's School 
Days," and also in "Verdant 
Green," there are several 
instances mentioned, such as 
"roasting" before a blazing 
fire, " bullying," wrenching 
off knockers and misplacing 
signs, and also serious en- 
counters on the streets be- 
tween " gown " and " town." 

All the time I was at the University, 
although I witnessed and became aware of 
many questionable proceedings by students, 
I never heard of any of the above mentioned 
things taking place. No student resided 
within the walls of the University, and even 
the learned Principal had his house some two 
miles distant. The students, therefore, had 

128 Student Life. 

perfect liberty to keep free from any domi- 
neering individual or sect. 

As I have already mentioned, the students 
attending the various classes were by no 
means a pattern of high breeding at all times, 
and drew weaker ones away into dubious 
paths. There were a few cases of strange 
outdoor freaks indulged in by some of my 
more intimate companions, and I may 
mention here one of Aitchison's adventures, 
as it will serve as one example of what 
students will do when put to the test. 

Aitchison was a light-hearted, merry go-a- 
head, rollicking student with a free and easy 
manner. He made himself perfectly at home 
in any society; and had the awkward habit of 
speaking what he believed to be the truth in 
a plain, matter-of-fact way that oftentimes 
startled his listeners. He had strong, rugged 
features, small gray eyes, and a well built 
frame ; while he was full of a buoyant energy 
that told of health and strength. 

" I don't believe anything of the kind. I 
think such stories are all inventions of the 

"What are the inventions you speak of, 
Geggin ? " I asked, coming forward. 

''Sold'' by a Student. 129 

" Oh ! it s simply about students hawking 
potatoes and such things in the town, to make 
an extra penny. Aitchison says he quite 
believes there have been instances, and is 
quite willing to make the experiment himself/* 

" Do so, Aitchison," I said ; " I will get my 
landlady to patronise you." 

'* Won't you take up a bet ? " he said. 

" Well, I *m not in the habit of doing so," 
said Geggin, in reply. " But if you manage 
to do it within a week, without being recog- 
nised, I don 't mind if I stand five shillings." 

" Done ! " exclaimed Aitchison, seizing 
Geggin by the hand, and giving it a hearty 
shake. " I would rather have done without 
the disguise, but I '11 fulfil my promise," and 
away he went laughing. 

" Do you think he will do it ? " 

'* I am pretty sure he will try it at all 
events," I said. "He is one of those kind of 
fellows that stick at nothing. I think you 
may count on Aitchison obtaining your 

A few days passed by, and I had com- 
pletely forgotten what Aitchison had said, 
when one evening, coming up Cockburn 
Street, my attention was attracted towards a 

130 Student Life. 

small knot of people standing round a man 
vending some article of apparently great 
utility. On going forward I met Geggin 
among the crowd. 

** What *s up ? " I asked. 

"Why, there is a fellow there selling 
leather laces, who might be a splendid writer 
of fiction, if he would devote his talents in 
that direction. He has told some awful 
crammers during the few minutes I have been 
standing here." 

" Come on, Geggin," I said. " There is no 
use in encouraging the art of lying.*' 

" Wait a minute, Fraser. Here 's another 
genuine yarn." 

" Leather laces, only a penny a pair ! " 
said the red haired vendor, stretching them 
between his hands. "They're worth the 
money, and the brown ones you can blacken 
to any colour you like ! I '11 tell you a story 
about these same laces. One night I was 
standing up in Parliament Square, in the 
High Street, when a working man came for- 
ward. He wouldn't believe that the laces 
were as strong as I had said, but however, I 
got him persuaded to try them. He had 
seven children at home, so he bought seven 

''Sold'' by a Student. 131 

pairs. Well, gentlemen, he lived in a flat 
four stories high, and in the middle of the 
night he awoke from his sleep, and found the 
room full of smoke. He rose, dressed him- 
self, roused the children and opened the door, 
but was driven back by the flames. What 
was to be done } He rushed to the window, 
threw up the sash, but it was too far to jump. 
It was the only way by which he could escape. 
Recollecting the laces he bought from me, 
however, he tied the seven pairs together, 

and then tying one end to a big chair he " 

" For any sake, Geggin, come away," I 
said, bursting into a loud laugh. " I only hope 
that man is a Roman Catholic, to get abso- 
lution to-morrow." 

He is a terrible fellow," was his reply. 

Aitchison might take a lesson from him. 
By-the-by, I wonder where he is ? " 

My friend and I were soon to be enlight- 
ened on this point ; for on going along George 
IV. Bridge half-an-hour afterwards, the leather 
lace seller came forward and asked us to buy 
a pair, which we declined. The fellow, how- 
ever, persisted, till we both got angry ; and 
then, to our mutual astonishment, he said, 
" Hand over your five shillings, Geggin ; I 
have won the bet ! " 

132 Student Life. 

The red hair disappeared, and Aitchison 
stood before us ! 

" I might have thought it was you, 
Aitchison. The leather lace seller was too 
clever a story teller to be simply what he 
represented. You deserve the money, how- 
ever; although next time you try such a 
dodge, for any sake don't tell so many lies." 

" I got a shilling's worth of laces sold any 
how," said Aitchison. " Most of the yarns 
I told were picked up in High Street. 
There's a lot of talent completely lost, for 
want of being well patronised. You '11 change 
your opinion about students now, I suppose, 
Geggin ? " 

" I will have to do it," was the reply. 
"And I can perfectly believe that Alistair 
Macgregor's cousin went with the bagpipes 
up and down the streets of Aberdeen, when 
he had little or no money to pay for his 

" Was it not Alistair himself that did so ? " 
said Aitchison, after our wonderment had 
partially subsided. "These highlanders are 
always so hard up." 

"You cannot take the breeks off a High- 
landman," I said. 

''Sold'' by a Student, 133 

'* I nearly did it once, though/' said 
Aitchison. " It was a good joke on Alistair ; 
and I 'm glad that he goes about dressed like 
a civilised heathen," 

"It was kind of you to pay for the damage, 
all the same," I said, 

" Shut up, Fraser, or I '11 pinch your rihs 
for you," was the reply. " But do you know 
how many volumes there are in the Library?" 

" Somewhere about one hundred and forty- 
five thousand," I replied. 

" By the way, how do you get books home 
with you from the Library ? Do you know, 
Fraser, although this is my sixth session at 
the University, I never take advantage of 
anything but the Reading Room, where you 
consult books for nothing. How do you get 
books home ? " 

" Easily enough," said Geggin, replying for 
me. " You have just to shew your matricu- 
lation ticket, and a class one, and deposit a 
pound with the librarian, and you are entitled 
to two books at a time." 

" Do you get your money back ? " said 

"Oh! yes. The Senatus are very kind 
that way. Whenever you don't want books 


134 Student Life. 

out, you have simply to present your receipt, 
and you get your pound back agaiii." 

"That's all right," said Aitchison. "I 
must join the Library some day soon, since it 
costs nothing. I believe in taking all you 
can get, especially if it is worth having." 

"Always keeping in mind the advice of 
iEsop to his master," said Geggin. 

" And what was his advice ? " asked 
Aitchison. "The wee humphbacked slave 
said some good things, but I don't recollect 
anything very applicable in the present cir- 

"It was simply in connection with your 
phrase, taking everything you could get for 
nothing, if it was worth having ; but in the 

words of iEsOp *A,ipopa¥ otv d€i els rbv vovv, koX /irf els "Hjv 

Hr^ty — ^we must look to the mind and not to 
the outward appearance." 

"It was all very well for JEsop to say 
that," said Aitchison, "but now-a-days ap- 
pearance is everything — especially in the 

" I am surprised that you run down 
preachers so much," said Geggin. " It seems 
to be getting a sort of nightmare with you. 
You should never run down ministers ; 

''Sold'' by a Student. 135 

because it does yourself and others no 

"Fudge!" exclaimed Aitchison. "Whenever 
and wherever I see the tree of hypocrisy 
I *11 strike the axe of truth at its roots." 

"The Gospel is always true." 

"I know that," said Aitchison. " But there 
is such a lot of duffers in the pulpit, who 
feed you with confectionery instead of bread, 
and give you their own opinions instead of 
God s. And look at the lives some of them 
lead ! How many are put out of the church 
for drunkenness! How many get in their 
porter and wine by the dozen ; and yet if a 
poor fellow is seen going to the public house, 
he is on the road to the devil ! Ministers are 
but men ; and you may as well try to convince 
one of his evil ways, as to make a sphinx 

"And do you intend going in for the 
ministry, holding such views as you do } " 

" Not I," said Aitchison. " I have turned 
a perfect Democrat; and am going to take 
Geggin's advice." 

" And what 's that ? " I asked. 

" Oh ! he prides himself on being a bit of a 
phrenologist, and says I would never do for a 

136 Student Life. 

" What do you intend to do, then ? " asked 

" Be an engineer, Good-by." 

Macdonald's Practical yoke. 137 

Chapter XIII. 


"Worth makea the man, and want of it, the fellow," 


SUPPOSE you know 
Grainger, one of the libra- 
rians at the University ? " 

" I should think I do," I 

replied to Macdonald, who 

had acquired the habit of 

talking to me in the Reading 


"Mum's the word, you 

know, Fraser; but I played off a good joke 

on him the other day " — and here he chuckled 

tohimselfwith suppressed delight. "Grainger 

prides himself on being a bit of a rhetorician, 

and a good elocutionist. Just look at this 

Scotsman, of last week's date," and here he 

pointed to a small advertisement. " Read that." 

I did as desired, and read as follows : — 

" Mr J. H. S. Grainger, of the University 

Library, gives lessons in elocution. Terms — 

Twelve lessons, one guinea." 

"I am sure this is quite a new thing for me 

138 Student Life. 

to know about," I said. "But what befell 
Grainger ? " 

"Well, you know," said Macdonald, "I 
live over in Valleyfield Street, on the second 
flat; so accordingly I posted a note to 
Grainger, asking him to call at number so 
and so, at seven o'clock punctually, on 
Monday night, as I wished to take lessons 
from him in elocution. I got a number of 
friends up to my diggings to be on the look- 
out for Grainger. Punctual to the hour he 
made his appearance in the street, with a 
bundle of books under his left arm, a family 
umbrella in his right hand, dressed as usual, 
and with his conical shaped hat on his head, 
which he has worn for goodness knows how 
many years. Into one entry after another he 
went, reading the names of the bells ; for I 
had given him a wrong number, and a name 
that I had never seen in print at any time. 
The patience he displayed was most exem- 
plary ; and long before he was done, his face 
was as red as a harvest moon, — while to add 
to his embarrassment, a number of little boys 
kept hovering at his heels, crying, ' Man ! 
you Ve lost your hair pins ! Cheat the 
barber! — cheat the barber! When did you 

MacdonalcTs Practical Joke. 139 

come from China ? Who let you out o' the 
Asylum ? ' Upon my word, Fraser, I could 
do nothing for some time but roar and laugh 
at the very absurdity of the thing. The joke 
was so rich." 

"It was too bad of you all the same, 
Macdonald," I said. " I thought that affair 
with the toll gates would have made you 
somewhat cautious in playing off practical 
jokes for some time." 

"You're awfully strait-laced, Fraser," was 
the reply. " Hang it, man, you don't half 
enjoy life." 

" I quite believe that," I replied. 

" Grainger was just on the point of going 
away in despair, when I gave him a hullo to 
come up. I gave the beggar a glass of wine, 
after he had told me all his misfortunes of 
the evening ; and then he gave, by request, a 
reading from The Tempest that sent several 
of the fellows to sleep, it lasted such a long 
time. I believe this adventure will help to 
cure his vanity ; and, if I only could get that 
pig-tail of his cut off, I would not torment 
him any more. He is the most original thing 
about the whole town." 

" Not quite," I said. 

140 Student Life. 

" What is then ? " he asked. 

" Original sin/' I gravely answered, which 
reply sent Macdonald into a fit of laughter, 
that brought down a rebuke from the 
librarians in attendance. 

The students at the University had won- 
derful privileges in connection with the 
obtaining of books, both for consultation and 
also for taking home to study, as I have else- 
where mentioned. There were a few novels 
in the Library ; but although Blackwood and 
Macmillan and similar magazines, with good 
tales in them, were allowed to be consulted {J)y 
no fiction of any kind in volume form was 
allowed in the Reading Room. 

I remember on one occasion, when I could 
not settle my mind to study, that I filled in a 
slip for " Tom Cringle's Log," and handed it 
over the counter. 

" Sorry I cannot give you this book," said 
Livingstone, one of the librarians in attend- 
ance in the Reading Room ; Mr Small, and 
three others, taking charge at the Lending 

" Why not } " I asked. 

" Because no fiction is allowed to be 
brought into the room." 

Macdonald's Practical Joke. 141 

"But it's a book of travel," I pleaded. 
" It 's not a novel, and I want to see an 
account of Jamaica in it." It was all of no 
use, till I luckily recollected that the story 
appeared in Blackwood, so* I succeeded in 
obtaining what I desired by a very simple 

It was always a wonder to me how the 
librarians managed to keep so equable in 
temper, there were so many annoyances to 
try them. It is true their working hours 
were only from ten o'clock till four during the 
Winter Session, and an hour less in Summer ; 
but a marvellous amount of work was com- 
prised in that period. Students did not ask 
for books. To avoid noise, they had to write 
the name of the book or books they wanted 
on a slip like this : 

atriralatMn |[0. 





142 Student Life. 

I remember asking one of the librarians 
in the Reading Room Department how 
many of these slips were used in a year. 
" Between forty and fifty thousand," he re- 
plied. Now, as there were sometimes two 
and more books marked on the slips, it can 
easily be seen that the two librarians had a 
pretty busy time of it ; and although I might 
speak of the small salaries they received, this 
would be departing from my intention, so I 
leave this matter with the Senatus to con- 

A few weeks after Macdonald had men- 
tioned the affair about Grainger, I suddenly 
came upon the latter in the street, and to my 
astonishment his pig-tail had vanished! I 
went up and shook hands with him. 

" You have surely lost something," I said. 

" You are just like the rest of the students 
I see, Fraser," he replied. "It's a down- 
right shame that a man cannot get doing as 
he pleases, and especially in a country which 
boasts so much of freedom and liberty." 

" We must conform to custom at times." 

" More 's the pity," said Grainger. " The 
students at the Library fairly tormented me 
at the counter about the way I wore my hair, 

MacdonalcC s Practical Joke. 143 

so that I had to go to the barber's and get so 
much of it cut off. It *s too bad ; and now I 
don't look the least like a foreigner at all. 
However, the barber gave me a shilling for 
my hair, so that is some consolation." 

And from what I afterwards learnt, Mr 
Grainger entered a circumstantial account of 
the wrong done to him in this particular in 
his diary ; which, however, has never yet seen 
the light of day, and the public have thereby 
suffered a loss not easy to define. 

Student Life. 

Chapter XIV. 


" A peace above all other dignities, 
A still and quiet conscience." 

— SAaitsfearc. 

HE struggle for existence is 
getting harder and more 
difficult as time rolls on; 
and instead of the jovial, 
happy faces which my father 
told me were to be met with 
everywhere in his younger 
years, there is now seen a 
resdess, anxious look brood- 
ing over the face of almost every one you 

1 remember asking a fellow student if he 
thought life was worth living — a subject taken 
up by Mr Mallock in later years. This 
student answered — "Well, Fraser, I must 
answer your question in the negative. Life 
is just a form of slavery. Men with the 

Will Black's Confession. 145 

biggest pay have the least work to do, and 
it 's often the case with university life. The 
most deserving student doesn't always get the 
medal or bursary ; but it 's some fellow who 
has plenty of money, and has a knack of com- 
ing in first at an easy jog trot. There is no 
pleasure in life now-a-days. All the romance 
and beauty has vanished with primitive 
customs. In fact, I may tell you, Fraser, I 
cannot see one inch beyond the grave ; and 
what sort of pleasure is it for a man to turn 
night into day, to burn the candle at both 
ends, and then, when the mainspring of life 
runs down and gets broken, to be nailed in a 
box, and the worms to eat his flesh ? Faugh ! 
life is a perfect mockery, and there is no rest 
for a man till he is in his grave." 

"Will Black, do you know what you are 
saying ? " I asked. 

" I know perfectly well what I am saying," 
responded Will. "The strong rules the 
weak. The man with the purse is respected 
and petted, and the poor, industrious work- 
man is hunted to death ; and a God who 
allows such things to go on, how can He be 
a righteous and truth loving Jehovah ? Do 
you believe in an evil genius, Fraser — a 


146 Student Life. 

kind of being who goes wherever you go, and 
drops the poison of death into your heart's 
core, so that when you would do good 
you are drawn, like the magnetic needle, in 
the direction you do not want to go ? It just 
puts me in mind of what I did in days gone 
by, when walking along the roadside with a 
stick in my hand, I would suddenly, from no 
preconceived notion, but from sudden inward 
impulse, commence hitting the heads of the 
various nettles and flowers I met in with, an^i 
then after I had gone on for a considerable 
distance in this fashion, I would suddenly 
recollect that I had missed knocking down 
one flower, and so would return and work its 
ruin. And so it is with me now, Fraser. 
Motives and fancies which formerly I would 
willingly have nothing to do with, have now 
a tenacious grasp over me ; and I seem like a 
shuttle-cock tossed hither and thither, without 
being able to resist one whit what I know is 
wrong. I think the incline to ruin has been 
greased for me, and my prospects are now be- 
coming more lurid and dark with the beacons 
and clouds of destruction and utter eclipse ! " 
" Have you been working hard recently, 
Will ? " 

Will Black's Confession. 147 

" In a kind of fashion, by fits and starts. 
Do you know, Fraser, I do not think I will 
ever go back to Millport again — I cannot 
face my mother ! " 

•' Why, Will, my dear old fellow, what has 
gone wrong with you?" I exclaimed. "When 
things come to the worst, you know they 
generally mend. Can I help you in any way ?" 

" You 're a good fellow, Fraser, and I wish 
I had taken your advice long ago. But ever 
since Cowan's sudden death my mind has 
been completely upset with harassing thoughts. 
I tell you, Fraser, Macdonald has completely 
ruined me ! " 

*' Ruined you ! surely not." 

" But he has, I tell you," answered Will. 

" My heart is a seething mass of corruption 
and hate; and it seems at times, and especially 
at night, as if it was peopled by a thousand 
evil spirits from the dungeons of eternal 
blackness and despair! O God! and then 
to pause and think of what I was before I 
came here! My poor mother! what will 
she do when she knows all?" and here 
Will leant his head in agony against the 
table. He was silent for a minute, and then 
continued : — 

148 Student Life. 

" I may as well tell you, Fraser, the whole 
truth, and perhaps it will relieve the pressure 
on my brain. To begirt with the biggest 
calamity of all, / am married ! " 

I could do nothing but stare at Will 
Black, as he made this unlooked-for declara- 
tion. He was only a student in the second 
year of his Arts course, and married ! 

" Yes, Fraser, the murder is out, and you 
may stare. I see it has been an eye opener 
for you. Here have I been sailing on the 
sea of matrimony for six months ; and I can 
tell you, although I have often sneered and 
joked at Stanhope and Geggin, I would give 
all I have to be standing in their shoes at the 
present moment. But it's too late, and 
Macdonald is the fiend that has been the 
means of it all. Curse him!" and here he 
ground his teeth in impotent anger. I did 
not know what to say to bring comfort to 
Will ; but he saved me replying, as he con- 
tinued to talk in a kind of nervous fashion, as 
if he was anxious to get quit of a distasteful 

" Macdonald persuaded me to go to the 
theatre, and of course we had to go out 
between the acts to get a "refresher." We 

Will Black's Confession. 149 

would frequently ' toss up ' which of us was 
to pay, and I was oftener the loser than 
anything else. Of course, being among 
Macdonald's friends, I had to buy lots of 
things which cost money, and I had to make 
various excuses to get funds from home. 
But at the present moment I am oceans deep 
in debt, and feel overburdened, like Sinbad 
the sailor with the old man on his back. 
Macdonald used to come up to my diggings 
and persuade Lottie, the landlady's daughter, 
to go with him to various places, and wrought 
up my feelings so much by the manner in 
which he talked of her, that I persuaded 
myself that Lottie was a lost girl if I did not 
save her. I confess, Fraser, I liked the girl. 
She was good looking, and had pleasant ways 
with her ; so in a sudden freak of jealousy I 
got a special license and married her. 
Macdonald found this out, and said that he 
was much obliged to me for taking his ' toy ' 
away from him, as he did not know how he 
would have got rid of her otherwise. I can 
tell you I was mad, Fraser! — I never 
suspected such meanness and duplicity on the 
part of any one, and least of all from the 
hands of Macdonald. The end of the session 

150 Student Life. 

has nearly come ; and here have I a house 
rent to pay, my tailor's accounts to discharge, 
and several debts of honour ; so I think the 
sooner I commit suicide the better. Life is 
nothing but an endless round of misery. 
Eh ! Fraser, I wish I was a bairn again, and 
toddling about the braes and hills o' the 
bonnie Cumbraes ! " 

** * There is a fountain deep and pure — 
Forth from the riven rock it flows ; 
A healing spring and lasting cure 
For all terrestrial ills and woes.' 

Ah ! Will ! Will ! " I said, " if we were only 
healed from spiritual disease, we wouldn't 
fall into so many pitfalls of sin. But what 
sort of a girl is Lottie ? " 

"She is a nice creature, and I believe 
makes a good wife; but she is proud and 
vain, and is always at me for money." 

" Do you not think it would be the best 
policy to go home, and tell your mother what 
you have told me ? " 

" I cannot, Fraser," was the reply. " I am 
a coward at heart ; and my mother's face I 
cannot bear to see. And she was so fond of 
me," and here Will burst into a fit of sobbing 
and crying, which lasted for some minutes, 
and then he grew calmer. 

Will Black's Confession, 151 

" I lost the Bursary I tried for," he said. 
" I could have answered the questions well 
enough, I believe, but my mother's face con- 
tinually came before me and the paper ; so 
that I was totally unable to proceed, and had 
to leave the Hall without answering half of 

" Would you mind me telling your mother?" 
I said. 

"You!" exclaimed Will. "Why— well, 
Fraser, my head is in such a whirl I don't 
know what to think. Do as you think best. 
I cannot be more miserable than I am. A 
pretty minister I '11 make ! I need to go home 
to my diggings now, and I don't know what 
sort of a scapegrace I '11 turn out by-and-by." 

I gave Will what little savings I had; and 
after he left I pondered long on what he had 
told me. He was not the only student 
attending the University who was married. 
I knew at least two others ; but they were 
some five years older than my friend. There 
was something sad in Will's case; and on 
looking my note book over, in which I kept 
various jottings, I find this written : " Am 
afraid of Will Black. He seems to be drift- 
ing with circumstances, and has a harassed, 
reckless look which I don't like." 

152 Student Life. 

Out of unexpected circumstances, however, 
frequently arise unforeseen benefits ; and from 
this date I began to live a more real life, and 
to know that I, nor any of my fellow students, 
was made to live for self or worldly advance- 
ment, but for the glory of that Creator whose 
commandments I had so often knowingly set 

Geggin and Stanhope soon saw the change 
in me; and at our usual fortnightly prayer 
meeting it was made the subject of special 
thanks to God. But all the same, the tears 
often come into my eyes when I think of the 
short meteor-like career of my fellow student, 
poor Tom Cowan. 

/ receive my M.A. 

Chapter XV. 

■' Men are but children of a larger growth j 
Our appetites are apt to change as theirs, 
And full as craving too, and full as vain." 


URRAH! Hurrah! I say, 
Nelson and Geggin, come 
here," I shouted, as I stood 
before a number of names 
posted up at the University 
gates. Nelson was a student 
I had recently got acquainted 

"Where do I stand, 
Fraser ? " asked Geggin, hurrying forwards. 

" Pretty well up," I answered. " You have 
70 per cent, Nelson has five more, and I 
have 65 per cent. It's a lucky thing .the 
three of us have passed our ' exams ' success- 

" Come on, Fraser and Nelson. I '11 stand 
you a bottle o' lemonade on the head of it. 
Man, I thocht I was gawn to be ' plucked,' an' 

154 Student Life. 

come out like a starved cock ; but this news is 
just like a breath o' caller air direct frae the 

" What about Stanhope ? " I asked. 

"Oh! he is all right, I believe," said 
Nelson. "He wasn't exactly prepared to 
enter the examination for the degree, so he is 
going to work up and try to pass the Divinity 
Hall examination next October ;• he is coming 
out for the Free, I believe." 

"He will be a splendid hand when he does 
get a place," said Geggin. "He was standing 
preaching in the High Street, the other night, 
at the head of Carrubber's Close, when I 
passed by. I stood a minute to listen. He 
was dreadfully in earnest; and one of the 
phrases he used has stuck to me like a leech 
ever since. It was this: 'Oh! that I could 
fill Mons Meg fu* o' bibles, an' blaw salvation 
down the Canongate ! ' It strikes me," 
continued Geggin, with a humorous twinkle 
in his eyes, "that if Stanhope is going to 
convert the Canongate folk in that fashion, it 
will be very expensive for to keep him 
supplied wu' bibles." 

" Alistair Macgregor has got a fine situa- 
tion," I said. 

/ receive my M.A. 155 

" HuUoa ! what *s up with him ? " asked 

** Some forty-second cousin of his, a High- 
land chief in his way, has bought a large 
tract of ground in Manitoba for the raising of 
catde, and has asked Alistair to go out with 
him as the working partner, and Alistair is 
quite delighted with the idea/' 

" But what does Alistair know about cattle 
raising ? " asked Geggin. 

" He is a wonderfully knowing chap," I 
said, "and he has been taking a course of 
lessons in agriculture and sheep farming 
from Professor Wilson. His habits are not 
extravagant; he is healthy, with a capital 
constitution ; so I have not the least doubt 
that, by and by, Alistair will become a laird 
on a big scale, and we will hear great things 
about the Manitobian Macgregor. So, here 's 
success to Alistair," I said, finishing the last 
drop of lemonade in my tumbler. 

Graduation day duly dawned, and a splendid 
day it was, with a beautiful blue sky overhead,, 
soft west winds blowing, and everything, at 
least to my eyes, wearing a happy, holiday 

The ceremony took place in the Free 

156 Student Life. 

Assembly Hall at ten o'clock in the morning. 
All candidates for the honour had to be pre- 
sent an hour previous, to get robed and 
marshalled in order, before we were ushered 
into the Hall. As a student for the degree 
of M.A., I managed to obtain a few tickets 
to present to some of my more intimate 
acquaintances and friends, who were anxious 
to be present on so auspicious an occasion. 

At last we were ushered into the Hall — 
there were some eighty of us. I glanced 
round the crowded building, and in the front 
gallery saw my dear old father with a shep- 
herd tartan plaid thrown round his shoulders, 
and his intellectual countenance beaming 
with delight, as, recognising me, he leant 
forward and whispered a few words to my 
mother sitting close beside him. I was glad 
to see them looking so happy and interested ; 
and I have no doubt they thought their son, 
Norman Fraser, one of the cleverest young 
men in the city of Edinburgh. 

There was a large number of the professors 
present; among whom I may mention 
Blackie, with his eagle-shaped counten- 
ance; Calderwood, with a face betokening 
reserved intellectual strength and power; 

/ receive my M.A. 157 

Masson, the biographer of Milton ; Fraser, 
Rutherford, and a host of others. 

After we had been introduced by Professor 
Fraser, who acted as Dean to the Senatus 
Academicus, we entered our names in the 
Sponsio ; and after this had been done, we 
bent individually before Principal Sir Alex* 
Grant, and then a black bonnet was placed 
on our head — which, by the way, had to be 
delivered up before going away — then a Latin 
sentence was pronounced over us. It was 
thus that I was "capped," and was duly 
made an M.A. 

It was a glorious day for Norman Fraser, 
I can tell you ; and as I walked along the 
streets with my father and mother, I thought 
every one glanced at me, as much as to say, 
" There goes Fraser, who was made an M.A. 

'* Man, Norman," said my father, after we 
were seated at dinner in my lodgings, " I 'm 
rale proud to ha'e a son wi' a tail to his name* 
An' what do you think about the pulpit now ? 
Are you still kicking against it ? 

" No, father," I replied ; ** I am thankful and 
happy to say that, if all goes well, I intend 
entering the Divinity Hall next session." 

158 Student Life. 

'* An* you '11 be a minister ? " 

" Certainly, if I live." 

*' I aye kent Norman would please his 
faither an' mither," said my doting mother. 
^* Eh ! laddie ! laddie ! it would have been a 
strange thing if the bread cast upon the 
waters wasna gaun to be blessed to us in the 
lang run. Praise the Lord for a His 
mercies ! " 

As for my father, my resolution made him 
so overjoyed that he could hardly be prevailed 
upon to touch his beef and potatoes, while 
his handkerchief was employed very fre- 
quently in wiping away the tears from his 

We had a very happy afternoon together ; 
my father relating many anecdotes of his boy- 
hood, and also of the various famous preachers 
he had listened to. 

" I mind fine, Norman," he went on to say, 
as he sat by the " chimney lug " and puffed 
away at his black cutty pipe ; "I mind fine o* 
walking to Slateford one day, when I was 
younger than I am now, to hear Dr Chalmers 
preach. He was a wee man wi' a big head, 
and the hair o' his head was aye in a toozie 
state. The pulpit he was in was ane o* the 

/ receive my M. A, 1 59 

guid auld fashioned kind, where you didna 
get much room to walk about. Chalmers 
preached a guid sermon ; but a' at ance we 
heard an unco noise i' the pulpit, an* the wee 
preacher disappeared frae sicht! Almost 
everybody in the kirk smiled at the catas- 
trophe ; and while I was wonderin* to myself 
if auld Sandy had flown awa* wi* him, he 
appeared again, and went on wi' his sermon. 
It appeared that the pulpit was ower high for 
him, and he had a stool put inside for him to 
stand upon, which he had forgotten all about, 
an' so slipped his feet an' fallen, fiut it was 
a grand sermon for a* that." 

Leaving my father and mother to rest 
awhile, I went out in search of Alistair 
Macgregor to bid him good-by, and fortu- 
nately found him at home. 

" I am fery well pleased to get away from 
ta College, indeed," said Alistair, after we 
had talked a little together. " Professor 
Blackie iss a fery good man, and should have 
been a Macgregor." 

"We cannot all have the same name," I 

"That is fery true. But the Professor 
gave me a one pound note, and said that 

i6o Student Life, 

as the railway had come to Oban, where he 
has a fine house, he would have to go away 
from it, as he couldn't bear the idea of the 
place becoming like a town. He said that 
perhaps he would come out to Manitoba and 
spend his holidays there ; but I wass to be 
sure and, and — " and here Alistair stopped 

" To be sure and do what ? " I asked. 

" And come home soon, and take a Gaelic 
lass with me, so as to found a Gaelic colony 
over in Manitoba. But the Professor wass 
just joking, I think ; for I hef no money to 
keep a wife." 

'' It 's just like Blackie," I said. " I hope 
you will get on well, Alistair ; and you can 
drop us a line now and again. Just write to 
the University, and I '11 get your letters, and I 
will do my best to answer them." 

Alistair promised to do so. He was to 
sail from Glasgow in a month afterwards; 
and it was with many good wishes I bade 
him good-by, and returned to my lodgings 
to get things prepared for returning to the 
coast with my dear father and mother. 

A Students' Riot. 

Chapter XVI. 


" As roUa the ocean's changing tide, 
So Iiiiniaii passions ebb aiid flow." 


FOUND it very pleasant 
strolling along the shore at 
Millport, and drinking in 
renewed health and strength 
with the salt sea breezes. 

Many an afternoon and 

evening walk I had with my 

dear old father, as I got him 

persuaded on occasions to ■ 

leave his loom, and take a stroll with me to 

Fintry Bay, or round by the Lion Rock, 

opposite Fairlie. His mind was a complete 

storehouse of traditionary and other lore, 

and he was well acquainted with the past 

history of the Scottish Church; and any 

subject that I was deficient in, he was 

usually able to supply : but I am afraid 

1 62 Student Life. 

the weavers of the present day are far below 
the intellectual standard of those who have 
passed away, or linger still in some quiet and 
out of the way clachan. 

It is the inward mind which depicts the 
outer world, and a man's capacities for enjoy- 
ments greatly depends on his training in 
youth. As my father sometimes remarked : 
"You see, Norman, a weel stockit mind is 
like a bien house; you are aye sure o' havin' 
something for occasions when an extra 
pressure should arise/* 

Oftentimes as I watched my father sitting 
working at his loom, and listened to its con- 
tinuous ** click, click, clickitty-clack," and sav/ 
the threaded shuttle dart from one end of the 
web to the other doing its appointed task, I 
often wondered to myself what kind of harvest 
I would have at the end of my days, which 
were truly swifter than a weaver's shuttle. 

It was now wearing towards the end of 
August, when one morning on perusing the 
" Daily Review," I observed the following 
paragraph, which awoke me from my day- 
dreams, and brought me back to the realities 
of life. 

" Disgraceful conduct of students. — A dis- 

A Students' Riot. 163 

graceful riot took place last night in the 
Canongate, between eight and nine o*clock. 
A party of three students, slightly the worse 
for drink, marched into the most crowded 
part of the thoroughfare, and commenced to 
jostle the passers by in a very rough manner. 
After this had gone on for some time, they 
took to hitting out on all sides with their 
sticks, with the result of seriously injuring a 
man named Thomas Johnstone, who received 
a very painful wound on the head. This so 
irritated the crowd that they retaliated, and 
succeeded in driving the students into an 
entry. The police had great difficulty in 
forcing their way to the rescue ; and when 
they succeeded in reaching the students, they 
were attacked in turn by them, and were 
only disarmed after a brief struggle. They 
were taken to the Police Office, where they 
gave their names as John Macdonald, Walter 
Paton and Wm. Black, all students attend- 
ing the University of Edinburgh." 

" It is just the way wi' a lot o* these chaps," 
observed my father. "When they're no* 
punished enough, they think they will get off 
every time, an' so just go from bad to worse. 
Students are a queer set, an' get off wi' a 

164 Student Life. 

fine, when they should cool their heels in jail 
for breaking the laws." 

" I am afraid of Macdonald injuring more 
than himself," I said. " He has ruined more 
than one student already ; and if Will Black 
escapes it will only be like Job, with 'the 
skin of his teeth.' " 

Seeing Will Black's name in print re- 
minded^ me of my promised visit to his 
mother at Millport manse. It was always 
his mother that Will went to in all his 
troubles, as his father was so frequently taken 
up with his parochial duties, that he did not 
win the lad's confidence, as he otherwise 
would have done. 

It was a splendid day, and the trees were 
clad with pristine garments that charmed and 
delighted the eye. I found Mrs Black alone, 
as her husband had been called away to 
preach at Rothesay. I apologised for my 
delay in not calling sooner, and by and by the 
conversation gradually drifted round to Will 
and his non-appearance. 

" I am sure I do not know what has come 
over my boy at all," said Mrs Black. " He 
was always very affectionate and loving, and 
used to write delightful letters; but now I 

A Students' Riot, 165 

hardly get a line at all, and when they do 
come they are short and hurried, as if it were 
a task for him to write. Poor boy, I hope 
he won*t hurt himself with his studies. A 
university training seems to take the sun- 
shine out of a student's life. Have you found 
that out in your case, Mr Fraser ?" 

" I am happy to say I have not," I replied. 
" A university training has no more powerful 
temptations than other spheres. It all 
depends on how we work and the companions 
we choose." 

" Well, it may be all true what you have 
said," said Mrs Black; "but I cannot help 
feeling uneasy about Will. I have sent him 
more money than I can exactly afford. I 
think he is hiding something from me which 
I ought to know. Can you tell me, Mr Fraser, 
if Will has done anything which I ought to 
know .> " 

As delicately and as tenderly as I could, 
I gave a brief outline of Will's connection 
with Macdonald; his temptations and the 
rash step he had taken. When I had finished 
my brief recital, Mrs Black sat as if she 
were paralyzed ; and when she did speak, she 
could only ejaculate, ''Married! My boy 
married ! what an act of folly ! " 

1 66 Student Life. 

By and by she grew calmer. " I am glad 
you have told me this," she said. "Mr Black 
and I must go to him as soon as possible 
and try to persuade him to come home for a 
while. What sort of a girl is his wife ? " 

"She is a very lady-like person," I 
answered. "It was she who shewed you 
into Will's room when you were in Edinburgh 
on a previous occasion." 

" Ah ! yes, I remember. I hope she will 
be good to my poor, foolish lad. Good-by, 
Mr Fraser ; I must be alone with my troubles 
for a little." 

/ Enter tke Divinity Hall. 167 

Chapter XVII. 


"What is it to be wise? 
'Tis but to know how little can be known, 
To see all others' faults, and feel our own." 

— Pope. 

AM sure, Fraser, I do not 

know how to thank you for 

your kindness and sympathy 

to a reckless fellow like 

myself," said Will Black, 

after we met again at the 

University. " Mother has 

been here, and we have had 

quite a nice chat together. 

I was awfully glad, however, that you had 

broken the ice for me. I confessed all my 

folly to her and father, who was more lenient 

than I expected, and certainly did not deserve. 

They have both freely forgiven me. Lottie 

behaved splendidly, and I really think she 

likes mother and father already. Lottie has 

consented to go and stay for a month or two 

1 68 Student Life. 

at Millport ; and I *m sure if mother takes 
her in hand she will be a good girl. I am 
going to work hard in earnest now, Fraser, I 
assure you; for I have seen what an awful 
fool I have been." 

" I am glad to hear it," I replied, rather 
enigmatically I must confess. 

"Are you going to continue your studies 
in Edinburgh ? " 

" Oh ! yes, of course," was the reply. 
" Both father and mother strongly desired 
that I should complete my education at Glas- 
gow, but I wouldn't comply to this ; so they 
consented to let me remain, now that Jack 
Macdonald is out of the way." 

" Indeed ! what has happened to him ? 
His medical course is not finished, is it }'' 

"No, nor ever will be I am afraid," said 
Will. " I suppose you saw a notice about 
the students' riot in the papers, which took 
place some time ago in the Canongate ? " 

"Yes. I saw the notice, and I believe 
you were one of the culprits yourself, Will." 

" No, no, Fraser ; that was all a mistake, I 
assure you. It was another fellow of the 
same name, who was studying medicine along 
with Macdonald." 

/ Enter the Divinity Hall. 169 

" I am glad of that," I replied ; *' but what 
of Macdonald ? " 

" Well," continued Will, " the three students 
were let out on bail as usual, and when the 
day of trial came round two of them turned 
up to receive sentence, — another fine of 
course, — but Macdonald had bolted, and 
from that day to this no one knows what has 
become of him. It is supposed by Purdie, 
however, that he has gone to learn his 
father's business ; and I suppose that is 
pretty near the truth. 

" It *s a great relief to me, Fraser, to think 
that Macdonald is out of the way; for I 
believe he could have made me do almost 
anything he liked. But I see Geggin wants 
to speak to you. Good-by, and give a look 
up soon." 

" Have you seen Blackie's latest ? " asked 
Geggin, after we had talked some time on 
various topics. 

" Not I," was my reply. " What has he 
been doing — amusing the public again* ? " 

" Of course, but this time at a banquet. 
But here's the paper. Listen to this," and 
my friend read as follows : ** Professor Blackie 
said he had never prepared a speech before- 

170 Student Life. 

hand except once, and he thought the result 
would prevent his ever doing it again. He 
said, * It was on the occasion of the Burns 
Centenary. They came to me and said, 
" Blackie, we have you down for a speech." 
I looked at the programme, and saw I was 
down at the bottom as I am here. I said, 
" There is no use writing a speech. You 
have put my name at the bottom of the list, 
and by that time nobody will listen." — " Non- 
sense,'' they said. " You must do it. It is a 
grand occasion, and you must make a grand 
speech ; you must build it up architecturally, 
like Cicero, Demosthenes, and the orators of 
old." Like a good-natured fellow that I was, 
I wrote out a long speech. When it came to 
my turn, I saw there was no chance ; so I 
merely said, ** I propose so-and-so ; good-by," 
and sat down. But next day, there, in all 
the papers, was the great speech I had never 
delivered a word of — not only a whole column 
of type, but sprinkled with "hear, hears," 
** hurrahs," and all that sort of thing. It was 
the greatest lie that ever was printed, and you 
will find it there, making me immortal to the 
end of the world, wherever the name of 
Burns is known.' " 

/ Enter the Divinity Hall. 171 

*'And what do you make of all that ex- 
planation of Blackie's ? " I asked Geggin. 

" Oh, it *s easily seen through," was his 
reply. "He saw that he hadn't time to give 
his speech, so ere he went away handed it to- 
some of the reporters present, who took it 
down for next mornings papers. He is a 
splendid fellow for company ; and I have no 
doubt since his trip to Egypt this summer, he 
will be giving us a few jokes piled up in 
pyramidical style." 

" So long as they are connected with 
classical subjects I don't object," I replied. 
" Have you seen Stanhope yet ? " 

" I spent last night with him at an evan- 
gelistic meeting," said Geggin. "He has 
managed to get the needful to pay his class 
fees ; so I have no doubt but what he will * do 
good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.'^ 
But how are you getting along at the hall ? 
Is the theological class large this session ? " 

" There are some ten altogether," I replied, 
" They are all genuine fellows, as far as I am 
able to judge." 

" I think you will likfe Professor Flint's 
lectures," said Geggin. " It was he who 
delivered the Baird lecture on Theism, 

172 Student Life. 

Some students object to his style, as if he 
would force you to believe all he says, even 
against your will ; but I like a man with some 
dogmatism in his character, — especially in a 

" An old minister from Falkirk told me he 
was the ablest man in the Church of Scotland. 
I said, I have no doubt but what I will be 
thoroughly 'ground' by him, as well as by 
Charteris and the other Professors." 

"I am glad that your old dad is getting his 
desires fulfilled," said Geggin; "and that you 
enter the Hall as a man who has been * born 
again.' My belief is, that if all the ministers 
of every denomination were truly converted 
men, the church would be irresistible in her 
progress, instead of being a kind of mechan- 
ical machine." 

" I think so too," I said, as we parted. I 
found for the first four weeks after I had 
fairly settled down to study, that the work 
prescribed taxed my memory fully, so that I 
had few spare hours left for out-door recre- 
ation or amusements. 

The fees for the session of six month's 
duration in the Faculty of Divinity amounted 
to ;^i2 • 12 • o, a sum of money which came 


/ Enter the Divinity HalL 173 

heavy enough on my means of support ; and 
the more I mixed among and got to know 
the varied circumstances of the theological 
students, the more I admired them for their 
indomitable pluck and perseverance in fight- 
ing against so many seemingly insurmountable 
difficulties ; and I do not wonder at " puir 
auld Scotland " producing so many excellent 
divines, when I take into account the priva- 
tions many of these have to undergo, which 
tends tQ deepen and strengthen their spiritual 
faith. I got acquainted with more than half- 
a-dozen of the Divinity students ; Hugh 
Anderson, Henry Thompson, James Mackay 
and several others, all of whom are now 
ministers in various parts of Scotland. 

The society which I had started still con- 
tinued to flourish, and to attract to its circles 
many quiet first year's students, who would 
otherwise have gone through the University 
without having made friendships of any kind. 
Man is sometimes a solitary animal, and 
requires tact and ability to draw him out of 
himself; and I have received many a kind 
and loving letter from various parts of the 
work! from former students, thanking me for 
doing what I did for them, in the way of 

174 Student Life. 

introducing them to Christian society, and so 
helping to strengthen and develop their faith. 

It was wearing on towards the opening of 
another year, when I received an invitation 
to attend the funeral of Charlie Macnab. I 
found it impossible to go, having so much 
work on hand; so wrote expressing my 
sympathy with his parents' loss, and asking 
particulars of his latter end. After this letter 
had been posted, I wondered if Charlie, 
before he died, had succeeded in reconciling 
Tiis father to his sister-in-law. Truly the 
whirligig of time brings vas,t and unexpected 
changes, as I found out when I obtained a 
reply a week later. 

Charlie Macnab had died in the hope of a 
blessed resurrection. Before his departure 
he had succeeded in bringing his sister-in-law 
and her son to see him, the result being that 
Charlie's father, completely broken down at 
having lost one son, and threatened with the 
loss of another, had taken young Mrs Macnab 
and her boy into favour, and Charlie had died 
happy, leaving, among other legacies, a finely 
bound copy of Milton to " Mr Fraser, of 
Edinburgh, for his past kindness." Charlie's 
<ieath was thus the means of attaining a 

/ Enter the Divinity Hall. 175 

reconciliation, which would have otherwise 
been difficult to obtain ; and the fatherless 
boy was, as I learnt afterwards, the certain 
heir to Mr Macnab's estates, now that his 
sons were all dead. 

I never heard anything further regarding 
Mrs Henry Macnab, beyond the fact that 
Mrs Smith, the landlady with whom she 
resided with in Edinburgh, received a five 
pound note for past kindnesses given to her 
when in sore need. 

It will thus be seen that my first session 
in the Divinity Hall was entered upon amid 
a lessening circle of old friends ; and although 
I made many new acquaintances, I many a 
time regretted the loss of the **old familiar 

176 Student Life. 

Chapter XVIII. 

WAS happy to observe that 

Will Black kept steadily at 

work, and that he wrought 

with a purpose. Believing 

that drink is one of the most 

debasing things that men 

can partake of, I induced 

Will to join our Temperance 

Association ; and he became 

one of the most energetic of its members, 

and was the means of largely adding to the 

roll. Will confessed to me that it was a 

terrible struggle at the beginning to give up 

even his occasional glass ; but by a firm will 

he snapped the chains of the terrible evil, 

and stood unfettered and free. 

Stanhope and he became more and more 

Will Black's Mission, 177 

intimate; and towards the close of the Session, 
while attending an evangelistic meeting in a 
hall in Rose Street, I noticed Will Black on 
the platform, and later on, heard him deliver 
a most earnest and practical address, and 
found out, from Stanhope, that Will added 
example to precept, and was frequently found 
at the bedside of the suffering poor. 

" I think Chateaubriand made a mistake," 
said Stanhope to me one day. 

** I suppose he had failings like the 
generality of men," I said. 

" Yes ; but it is in respect to what he says 
of happiness. I spoke just now too abruptly, 
and uttered aloud a mental thought of 
reasoning which I was following out. The 
passage I refer to is this : He says — 'People 
speak continually of happiness; all men look 
for it; none find it; few are acquainted with 
it' Now, I say that is false. I am happy 
for one ; and Will Black told me last night 
that he never remembered a period in his 
life when he was so happy ; and I think that 
the secret lies in the fact that several weeks 
ago Will experienced the new birth, and 
wishes to impart some of his inward happiness 
and peace to other minds." 


178 Student Life. 

. And Will Black told me long afterwards, 
that Stanhope's upright walk and conversation, 
and Cowan*s sudden and unexpected death, 
was the means of leading him to the only 
true Refuge. An upright Christian walk is 
preaching the gospel. 

My father at last got his wish fulfilled. I 
was one of the theological students appointed 
to deliver a discourse on behalf of Foreign 

Missions in China, and the town of K 

was the place I was to make my first 
appearance. A number of years have passed 
since then ; but I still remember the tumul- 
tuous waves of feeling which passed through 
my mind as I entered the sacred edifice, and, 
after mounting the steps of the pulpit, was 
shut in by the beadle turning the handle of 
the door. 

I felt the cold perspiration trickling and 
oozing down my spinal column ; and as I rose 
to give out the first psalm, my legs trembled 
and my voice shook, while I dared not lift 
my eyes to gaze on the congregation. The 
singing calmed me somewhat, and I gathered 
sufficient confidence to look round on my 
audience. I saw my dear father and mother, 
but alas! such is the frailty of humanity, I 

Will Black's Mission, 179 

wished it had been some other individual 
than Norman Fraser, M.A., standing in the 
pulpit. I knew my sermon thoroughly before 
I had left home. My mind was now, how- 
ever, a perfect blank ; and I am sure if I had 
not brought my manuscript with me, there 
would have been assuredly, if not a " stickit 
minister," at least an ambitious student stuck 
fast in the quagmires of perplexity. My 
father had urged me strongly to deliver my 
sermon without reading; but although my 
intentions were good, my performance was 
mediocrity itself; for I read every word, and 
thankful was I indeed when my labours were 

"It wisna such a bad discourse, Norman, 
my man," said my father after I had returned 
home. "It was very guid for a beginning. 
But it just wanted pith an' smeddum to mak' 
it stand itsel', an' a wee mair self confidence ; 
but I would raither ha'e a modest beginner, 
than an impertinent young fellow, who thinks 
he has a' the wisdom o' the worl' in his head, 
when it 's a' the time mair filled wi' self than 
. Christ." 

"The theological student is the most 
patient of all animals," so said Manderson, 


i8o Student Life. 

one of the librarians, as he handed me a book, 
after I had waited fully half-an-hour ; and I 
conscientiously believe that he expressed the 
truth ; for in ' pursuing theological studies, 
youthful enthusiasm gets sorely tried, as the 
subjects on many occasions are rather intricate, 
and patience is a virtue needed at all times. 

My course through the Divinity Hall was 
a very uneventful one, as far as outside 
affairs were concerned. It was like passing 
from the House of Commons to the House of 
Lords, after finishing the Arts course; the 
two atmospheres were so different, and yet 
both were essentially necessary. The day at 
last dawned, when I had to preach two 
discourses preparatory to being licensed as a 
probationer. I did this successfully, and 
received the congratulations of the several 
Professors and others, for delivering very 
"sound and masterly discourses." 

The three sessions at the Divinity Hall 
had passed very rapidly, and on the whole, 
very pleasantly ; and I was thankful that my 
health and strength had stood the strain of 
mental study and application. 

Geggin and Stanhope, — the former of the 
Free, and the latter of the United Presby- 

Will Black's Mission. i8i 

terian Church, — finished their course of study 
at the same period. Will Black, however, 
had still a full session more to run ; for by 
this time he had entered as a theological 
student, and was " running well." 

The four of us had a happy meeting 
together. It was a question if we would all 
meet again in like manner. There is always 
a mingled feeling of regret and sadness at 
parting ; and although each of us painted rosy 
coloured pictures for the future, and were 
anxious for the day when we would buckle 
on our armour, and fight in a settied sphere 
on behalf of our glorious Captain, we almost 
wished to live our university life over again. 
Dear old Alma Mater, my heart clings to you 
yet with fond affection ! 

About nine months after I was licensed 
to preach the Gospel, I received a "call" 
from a nice quiet country place in the West 
of Scotland. Needless to state I accepted it, 
and pen these recollections from the study in 
one of the loveliest situated manses that are 
to be met with anywhere. I like the people 
among whom my lot has been cast ; and from 
all I can gather, both by hearsay and other- 
wise, I understand there is nobody liked 

1 82 Student Life. 

better, or held in higher esteem among them 
than " the minister." 

I have only had one letter from my old 
friend Alistair Macgregor. He is doing 
remarkably well in his new career ; although 
I am afraid his Latin and Greek will not be 
of any advantage to him in his far-off home. 
He has now a large farm of his own. " I do 
not know," he writes, " I do not know what 
my old father would think of his son Alistair 
possessing ten thousand sheep, several large 
herds of cattle, and as much land as would 
conveniently hold at least fifty crofters in the 
Highland fashion. I am married also, Fraser, 
and I can hear the shouts of two of the young 
Macgregors as they watch an unruly stoat 
which has run away from the rest of the herd 
in a reckless manner. I am sorry to say that 
Professor Blackie (I have still his plaid yet) 
has not come out to see me in my new home ; 
but he will find a real Highland welcome 
when he does come, as I have taught young 
Donald to play on the pipes as good as my 
uncle, piper to the Duke of Argyle at 
Inveraray." Such was a part of my friend 
Alistair's letter ; the latter portion of which, 
I have no doubt, was rather exaggerated, 
unless Donald was a youthful prodigy indeed. 

Will Black's Mission. 183 

Several changes had, however, taken place 
at Edinburgh University since Alistair had 
last frequented it. Kind and genial Professor 
Blackie had sent in his resignation to the 
Queen, and Her Majesty had been pleased 
to accept it. The Professor received a 
pension, and still goes about with the con- 
sciousness that he has successfully founded 
the Celtic Chair to aid in keeping alive the 
Highland language. 

Geggin and Stanhope both secured 
churches. They are both "living epistles 
known and read of all men,'* and teach their 
flock both by precept and example the height 
that Christian men can attain unto. As 
they have only been settled a year or so 
in their various charges, I cannot speak of 
their successful labours ; but as they are both 
gifted with high literary abilities, the world 
will be all the richer some day by the works 
they will send forth. 

And Will Black, and his wife — what of 
them ? 

Last week I stood on the deck of a beauti- 
ful vessel, with a large number of passengers 
on board, and among them were the Rev. 
William Black and his wife. Both had 

184 Student Life. 

learned by experience, and had obtained a 
measure of that faith which overcometh the 

They were bound for China, as labourers in 
the foreign field. 

" Good-by, Will," I said as I shook hands 
with him. "You are going on an arduous 
mission, and may heaven prosper you." 

" Amen ! " said Will. " ' What shall I ren- 
der unto the Lord {or all His benefits toward 
me ? ' If it had not been for His grace and 
strength, I would have been a degraded 
wretch in all probability by this time. Come 
what may, ' as for me and my house, we will 
serve the Lord.' " 

And thus it came to pass that Will Black, 
after passing through the fire, braved exile 
from his native land, to do good to those who 
sit in darkness. 

I have done, for the twilight shadows are 
creeping thicker together, and a thin film of 
mist is spreading itself abroad obscuring the 
light ; but I trust that the varied experiences 
of my fellow students and myself, herein 
noted down, will not be without fruit ; and that 
intending students will see that it all depends 
on the way in which they pursue their studies. 

Will Black's Mission. 185 

and the companions they make, whether 
success crowns their efforts, or failure and 
disaster — and the same with every occupation 
in life. 

And so, reader, I bid you heartily — 

"Oh! my sweet God, I seek no prince's power, 
' No miser*s wealth, nor beauty's fading gloss 
Which pamper sin, whose sweets are inward sour, 
And sorry gain that breed the spirit's loss. 
No, my dear Lord, let my Heaven only be 
In my Love's service but to live to Thee !'* 


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Contents : 

The Clyde at Bothwell ; In the Secret of Leaves. 

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These Essays are Topographical, Historical, and Descriptive, 
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